Memorial Parade 2

Veterans march in parade and hold flags to commemorate Memorial Day.

Memorial Day for many is a day to hold a barbecue, or take a weekend getaway, but some believe it should be more than that.

Ezequiel Ramirez graduated from Iowa State in 2017 with a degree in global resource systems and environmental studies, and serves in the Iowa Army National Guard, and works full time for the Department of Defense.

“It’s not really [a big deal for me] since I haven’t lost anyone,” Ramirez said. “But we did something for it at work.”

2016 data from the Census Bureau estimated the number of veterans in the United States at 18.5 million, or just under 6% of all Americans, and according to a Harris poll, only 28% of Americans have attended “a local ceremony or patriotic event.”

Veteran’s Day is the holiday specifically dedicated to those who have served in the United States Armed Forces, while Memorial Day is dedicated to those who died serving in the American military, but some veterans still feel a connection to Memorial Day.

From the War of Independence to conflicts today in the Middle East, at least 1.3 million service members have died in the service of the United States.

Sen. Daniel Inouye represented Hawaii for decades in the U.S. Senate. Inouye introduced a bill in every new Congress from 1987 until his death in 2012, that would change the date of Memorial Day to its previous date of May 30.

“Mr. President, in our effort to accommodate many Americans by making the last Monday in May, Memorial Day, we have lost sight of the significance of this day to our nation,” Inouye said on the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1999 when re-introducing the bill.

In recognition of Memorial Day, public offices and spaces are generally closed, while marches, parades and other ceremonies are held to honor those who died in service to the United States.

The Ames City Hall and post offices will be closed, among other public buildings. The annual Memorial Day parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. outside Ames City Hall, and anyone is welcome to march in the parade.

Mayor John Haila of Ames will give the “City’s welcome,” while Judge Michael Moon will be its featured speaker.

“Salute[s] to the Dead” will take place at 1:15 p.m. at the Ontario Cemetery, and at 1:30 p.m. at the Story Memorial Gardens.

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