Hundreds of veterans and their families gathered all over the county to remember the men and women of our armed forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice. All veterans gave some but some gave all. Memorial Day is a celebration to remind us that we must never forget the high cost that was paid in order to establish and maintain our freedom and the liberties we all enjoy.

The governor of Ohio issued a directive that all flags be displayed at half staff until noon on Memorial Day. This is an honor that is granted limitedly because of the great significance that it represents. I am a veteran who, like others, holds this day with esteem.

As a veteran I was eager to join the celebration in Columbiana. Driving from Lisbon, I approached the Columbiana County courthouse. I could see that two flags needed to be adjusted, one flag in Veterans Park and the other flag on the courthouse. I was shocked to see that the flags had not been lowered. I felt the best place to begin in getting this corrected was the Lisbon Police Department. It turned out that no one seemed to know who had the authority to make the adjustment.

When I got to Columbiana, I was stunned again. Another government office, the police station, had not lowered its flag. I felt compelled to confront the station and again was met with no acceptable response. So why did I have to take it upon myself to go out and lower their flag?

I want this letter to stand as a reminder that this holiday is more than hot dogs and hamburgers and a game of corn hole in the back yard. We all enjoy those things but we must also never forget the deep meaning and significance that this day holds for veterans and families.

I suspect I am not the only veteran who felt a stabbing pain in my heart at the sight of two inappropriately displayed flags. May the conviviality of the day never erase the reason for it.

Matt Henderson

U.S. Army

CPT., Retired