Those in attendance for Memorial Day services Monday at Newton's Greenwood Cemetery got a brief history lesson on the national holiday.
Featured speaker Ron Estes, the Republican U.S. Congressman representing Kansas' 4th District, discussed the evolution of the holiday, formerly known as Decoration Day, that started as a way to remember the fallen soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Officially adopted as a federal holiday in 1971, Memorial Day now recognizes veterans of all wars — an act of service, Estes stressed, that should not be taken for granted.
"It is crucial that we never forget the sacrifice these men and women have committed," Estes said.
With the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion (D-Day) approaching, where "the eyes of the world" were upon our troops, Estes stressed it is all the more important to remember the valor and other contributions brave Kansans and brave Americans have made in service to their country over the years.
Referred to as a "supreme sacrifice" during the services, speeches, prayers and tributes were made in honor of the fallen veterans — with "America the Beautiful" and "Taps" also being performed.
As the ceremony came to a close, Paul Sanford, American Legion liaison to Rep. Estes, encouraged the crowd to not only remember those who have served in the past this Memorial Day, but asked that they also not forget about those currently serving their country.
"Please keep our veterans in you prayers," Sanford said, "and those who are serving in various ways."