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Memorial Day - Cleveland

Memorial Day stands for a lot of things. Regardless of what the calendar says, it's the official start of summer. It is the first time it is completely appropriate to wear white shoes. (The end of white shoe season is marked by another holiday, Labor Day.) You can even comfortably start using straw purses and wearing sandals.

It is a day of parades, school and business closings and of course cook-outs! With or without sunshine people will be cooking burgers, dogs and steaks on their grills and picnics will be the de rigeur of the day.

And with all that will come some political speeches. Some politicians will use the day to advance their own political agendas or aspirations.

I would ask you instead to think if it as a day of education. A day for children to take a page from the history book and apply it to their personal lives. Most cities now have a war memorial of some kind. The War Memorial Fountain is downtown. Have you seen it yourself? Have you taken your kids to see it? This would be the day for that. And then talk to them about why it's there and what it means.

Cleveland War Memorial Peace Statue

In case you're not sure yourself, here is some information. The War Memorial Fountain is also known as the "Fountain of Eternal Life". It is Cleveland's premier memorial to its people who served in World War II.

The Cleveland Press was one of Cleveland's major newspapers at the time it was built, and The Press was largely responsible for its creation. It was designed by sculptor Marshall Fredericks.

In the center of the fountain is a bronze figure of a man reaching to the heavens for eternal peace and attempting to escape the flames of war. It is 35 feet in height and has bronze plates bearing the names of four thousand Greater Clevelanders who gave up their lives in WWII or Korea.

The statue was dedicated on May 30, 1964. That's 44 years ago. Plenty of time to have stopped by to see it.

Cleveland War Memorial Peace Statue

If you can't make it to the Fountain, how about the Cod? Do you know that the USS Cod is docked here in Cleveland and that it is a national historical monument and a Memorial? The Cod is now open for the 2006 season and Memorial Day may be a good time to take your children.

POW - MIA Never forget

There is a Civil War memorial statue in downtown Willoughby and a Viet Nam memorial in South Euclid. Rocky River has a war memorial, as does Shaker Heights and Lakewood. If you look hard enough you'll find one close to you.

In short, there are a lot of opportunities to educate our children and grandchildren on Memorial Day. Our country is at war and whether or not you agree with the war is not an issue. What is at issue is the troops. Remembering the ones serving now and the ones who have served before.

Won't you help keep Memorial Day the holiday it was meant to be and preserve the memory of our soldiers and their sacrifices?

Soldier salutes veterans grave

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