Editorial: Flags lowered on Monday; remember to give a moment to honor those who served

May 28, 2011

Stone and cloth will make a firm statement on Monday.

The stone is a marble monument to be dedicated at Idlewilde Cemetery in honor of all the Japanese-American citizens who have served in our nation's armed forces. (See page A1 for details.)

The American Legion and Idlewilde Cemetery organizations, and Dennis Leonard and Bob Huskey in particular, deserve thanks for working hard with local families to pay a timely honor to a segment of our citizenry that, historically, has suffered discrimination and ill treatment because of its ethnicity.

The stone, to be unveiled Monday, honors the names of living and deceased the Japanese-American servicemen and women and, by extension, their family members, many of whom dealt with deportation and detention in 1942-46, and explicit or implicit discrimination here in Hood River before that and since.

The cloth is the American flag, which Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered lowered to half-staff at public institutions from sunrise until noon on Monday, May 30, in memory of all Oregonians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This is Kitzhaber's statement:

"This Memorial Day, I urge all Oregonians to pause and reflect on the men and women currently serving our nation overseas. While we keep them in our thoughts and prayers, we also take this day to remember the courage and dedication of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom."

The protocol for displaying the flag at half-staff on Memorial Day is to raise the flag in the morning briskly to the top of the flag pole, then slowly lower it to the mid-way point of the pole. At noon, the flag should be raised back up to the top of the flag pole.

Monday's "holiday" should be about more than camping trips, picnics and sleeping in. (Local students even get a four-day weekend, with no school on May 27.)

Even if you cannot make it to Monday's service at Idlewilde at 11 a.m., spend a few moments at that time reflecting on the "last measure of devotion" shown by those who have given their lives to defend our freedoms.

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