Memorial Day then and now

Mitch Kloorfain/chief photographer Bruce Hudson, one of the organizers of the Memorial Day parade in Stuart salutes during the playing of the national anthem.

Mitch Kloorfain/chief photographer
Bruce Hudson, one of the organizers of the Memorial Day parade in Stuart salutes during the playing of the national anthem.

Patrick McCallister
For Veteran Voice
While Memorial Day means barbeques and sales for some, for others it’s among the most sacred of our civil holidays. It’s the day when we honor those who’ve died in service to our nation.
How’d it get started? That’s a more complex question than it might seem. Back in the ‘60s, President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring Waterloo, N.Y., the birthplace of Memorial Day on May 30, 1866. The National Memorial Day Museum is even in the village. Done deal, Decoration Day, now Memorial Day, started in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
Not so fast.
“Probably the very first commemoration of Memorial Day was May 1, 1865, right here in Charleston (S.C.),” Simon Lewis, a professor at the College of Charleston, said.
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Veteran event at Jetson salutes armed forces

Staff photo by Mary Kemper At the Jetson Electronics and Appliance Veteran Information Day, held at its U.S. Federal Highway 1 location in Port St. Lucie, Jay Wise dresses in period costume to bring attention to the Sons of the American Revolution. Wise is the Yorktown Camp Color Guard commander for the St. Lucie River chapter, Florida Society.

Staff photo by Mary Kemper
At the Jetson Electronics and Appliance Veteran Information Day, held at its U.S. Federal Highway 1 location in Port St. Lucie, Jay Wise dresses in period costume to bring attention to the Sons of the American Revolution. Wise is the Yorktown Camp Color Guard commander for the St. Lucie River chapter, Florida Society.

Mary Kemper
Staff Writer
To help celebrate Armed Forces Week, a wide variety of information for veterans, active-duty military and families was shared May 12 at the first Veteran’s Information Day at Jetson Appliance and Electronics Experts, U.S. Federal Highway 1, Port St. Lucie.
Outside the store, tents were set up showcasing Wreaths Across America, White City, headed by Diane Almodovar, and AMVETS 92 Riders, Rio, among others.
Air Force veteran Roy Brewer, of DAV Chapter 113, Port St. Lucie, brought one of the four wheelchair-accessible vans he was able to help procure for the United Veterans of St. Lucie County to transport veterans to medical care facilities. Brewer wrote the grant proposal that obtained the funding.
Inside the store, booths were set up by many other organizations, including the Sons of the American Revolution, Sons of the Confederacy, longtime military supporter Treasure Coast Art Association and Wreaths Across America in Palm City, headed by Gold Star Mother Karen Zook, as well as a representative of the Road to Victory Museum, located in Stuart, veteran Robert Shurts.
“We’re all about patriotism, and education,” said Jay Wise, who is the Yorktown Camp Color Guard commander for the St. Lucie River Chapter, based in Palm City.
Membership in the Sons of the American Revolution requires a patriot ancestor, and documentation of lineage, Wise said. “Anyone who supported the cause of American freedom was a patriot,” he said.

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