Many American’s believe Memorial Day is a day for family parties, or community gatherings to mark the beginning of summer vacations. To a veteran or member of our military it has nothing to do with parties or vacations, it is deeper and more personal; it is a day to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Freedom.


The history of Memorial Day is rich in tradition and ceremony.  From dawn to noon the American flag is flown at half mast in memory of those who gave their lives for this country while fighting for freedom. At noon the flag is raised to signify those among the living will never allow that sacrifice to be in vain. It also signifies to the world that those who wear the uniform of the United States Armed Forces will continue to fight for liberty, justice and freedom for all throughout the world. 


Unfortunately, some American’s have forgotten the true meaning of why we should remember the fallen of our nation. Instead, they think of gimmicks to use in order to promote sales for profit and gain. Then we have community leaders who feel it necessary to denounce the American Flag being flown on utility poles in a community of a fallen warrior.


Having been raised in a town built for returning heroes from the battlefields of Europe, the Pacific and Korea called Levittown I know first hand the significance of Memorial Day. Each year I’d accompany my father, a retired Army Major, to many events throughout the county. Memorial Day started with a sunrise service at the beach to remember those who died at sea, to a Parade down Hempstead Turnpike that ended with a wreath laying ceremonies before the library. Then it was a trip to Pinelawn National Cemetery for another wreath laying ceremony.  The day always ended at the VFW Post 9592 on Hickory Lane where the veteran community would gather to enjoy each others families and share stories of fallen brothers. To a young impressionable child, these surviving veterans instilled the value of our military’s sacrifice to a nation.


There was a time when the citizens of our country honored those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Unfortunately, it seems those times have perished along with our fallen warriors. Today, we have greed and profit outweighing patriotic observance. Majority of our utility companies across America forgo permit fees when the citizens of a community attach the American Flag to their utility pole lining our streets.


This week, I learned New York state run utility LIPA – Long Island Power Authority, which used to be known as LILCO, Long Island Lighting Company, feels it necessary to charge $5.00 for each American Flag affixed to their utility poles.  How Un-Patriotic is that?  LIPA claims it’s the law in the State of New York to charge a customer for attaching anything to their poles. The American Flag isn’t a flyer for a yard sale LIPA, nor is it attached with disrespect. LIPA now a Non-profit Government entity owned and operated by the State of New York wonders why the price of a permit fee needs to be an issue. It’s an issue LIPA because before you were taken over by the state, you had a heart.  When LILCO was a Private entity, the company would send out their utility workers to do the job New York Citizens have been doing before you came along LIPA, raising that American Flag upon your utility poles for free. I know this for a fact because I witnessed it personally.


Verizon Telephone Company, a company filled with Patriotic Pride and reverence for our military, veterans and our fallen never charges for the American Flag being attached to their poles. They wave all permit fees, so why can’t you LIPA? Has New York State lost what I used to refer to as NEW YORK PRIDE? After hearing how the citizens of Shelter Island were being charged a fee to display the American Flag on LIPA poles in remembrance of one of their own killed last year on the battlefield, I’m embarrassed to admit I’m originally from Long Island.


Has the director of LIPA and the Governor of New York State forgotten the sacrifices made by people willing to die for freedom? Have they forgotten what the Statue of Liberty stands for? Have they forgotten what the American Flag Stand for? I believe the Director of LIPA and the Governor have lost their pride in the heritage of being a New Yorker.  The New York I grew up in would not accept such behavior.


Unless we as American’s begin to respect what Memorial Day represents and instead of sucking down a beer or two, bow your head in silence and thank those who put on the uniform of the United States Military who gave their lives for your freedom. 


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Comment by Joe Clementi on May 30, 2011 at 4:52pm
Amen!  Nice post Elizabeth. 

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