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On May 26 I was privi leged to attend the “Raising of the Flag” ceremony at Colonel Robert L. Howard State Veteran’s Home in Pell City. What a way to begin Memorial Day. Standing in the morning light surrounded by vet erans, I now more fully appreciate the meaning of Memorial Day. Much like Christmas, it is easy for us to become focused on the activities and traditions; not the real reason for the holiday.

Before 5:30 a.m., veter ans, dignitaries, a few fam ily members and the staff of the home started lining the walkways in front of the building. They were there because they wanted to participate. It was not a requirement.

The ceremony was sim ple and brief: the playing of TAPS; the presentation and raising of the United States flag to half staff; fol lowed by the presentation and raising of the flag of Alabama to half staff.

Veterans made their way or their wheelchairs were pushed back into the build ing. A procession of true American heroes. Many carry memories of fallen comrades and the ravages of war.

Inside the main sit ting area had been deco rated. Veterans were seat ed around tables and the Home staff served break fast. Every employee was busy serving plates, refilling drinks, making sure every one had what was needed. Some were even assisting veterans with eating.