For many people, Monday, May 27, will be the unofficial start of the summer season, a day to gather with family and friends, head to the beach, fire up the grill or take advantage of sales.

But, as evidenced by events planned in Estacada and Sandy, some people still observe Memorial Day with its intended purpose.

Please consider attending one of these events, where you can demonstrate your appreciation of the valor and sacrifice of American service men and women.

n Estacada Area Support Our Troops will hold a ceremony at 11 a.m. May 27 at the veterans memorial, 267 S.W. Second Ave. The raising of the flags will occur at noon.

n Sandy Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4273 is having an appreciation day for veterans of the Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf Wars from 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the post, 38452 Proctor Blvd., Sandy. The veterans with current VFW membership or a DD 214 form will be served a free meal. For more information, call 503-668-5211.

Where it began

Since the time of the Civil War, we’ve set aside a day (originally known as Decoration Day) to remember those who have given their lives defending this nation in battle.

It is altogether fitting, then, that we revisit the most famous speech associated with that conflict, the Gettysburg Address, given by President Abraham Lincoln, five years before the first official Decoration Day in 1868.

His words still resonate today as our nation debates our ongoing conflicts abroad while honoring those who gave their lives in those, and previous, wars.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

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