RINDGE — Cathedral of the Pines observed Memorial Day as it always has traditionally on May 30.
About 100 people attended the Friday afternoon observance.
“We are celebrating our 69th year as a national memorial dedicated to the memory and honor of all Americans who serve the nation,” Donald Upton, chairman of the Cathedral of the Pines trustees, said to the crowd in opening the observance.
Guest speaker retired United States Army Sgt. Major John Solomonides of Gilsum said out of convenience rather than tradition many communities across the county celebrated Memorial Day on Monday, May 26, and, sadly, for many Memorial Day has become merely a day off from school or work for many Americans.
“How appropriate it is for us to come together today in this place on this traditional observance of Memorial Day, in this cathedral, to pay our respects and honor the memories of those who have given their lives, those who fought and died on battlefields all around the world not only to keep us safe and secure at home, but to bring the gifts of hope and freedom to oppressed people everywhere, Solomonides said.
Solomonides read counts of the recorded American war dead from every war and conflict from World War I to present.
Unfortunately, no official records of war dead were kept before that, he said.
“For every individual lost on the field of battle, so too, is lost an untold story. The cumulative narrative of those untold stories is one of unfulfilled potential,” he said.
Memorial Day has become a day in which veterans reflect on their service, or on which others thank veterans or reflect on the gifts of freedom, Solomonides said, adding it is important to remember the meaning of the day.
“As we take time from our busy lives on this Memorial Day it’s important to remember it’s not for us, Memorial Day is for them,” Solomonides said. “Memorial Day is a day for the dead.”