Celebration of the nation

This past weekend, our community took to stars and stripes as we celebrated Memorial Day.

While, for the students of Greenwich, Memorial Day offered an extra day to review for finals, many of us put down the pens and highlighters to remember and celebrate our nation’s heroes.

Memorial Day claims its origins in the post-Civil War United States when the nation intended to celebrate both Union and Confederate soldiers. The holiday became nationally recognized after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed in the holiday in May of 1966.

This holiday marks a celebration of America’s finest. We gather in small get-togethers or in parade-watching crowds to commemorate the brave patriots who have dedicated and often sacrificed their lives to protect our country.

And Memorial Day also marks the summer kickoff. With barbecues, American flags, and loud music, it is a time to recognize that summer is imminent after a brutal winter. Those long, strenuous schooldays will soon be over. Greenwich residents can finally kick their feet up and watch the parade, as the hard work of the year has paid off.

Although I have always appreciated the “day off” aspect of Memorial Day, my understanding of the importance of this holiday has developed in recent years. We moved to Old Greenwich three years ago to a home in the heart of the community, overlooking Sound Beach Avenue. I awoke on my first Memorial Day in town not knowing what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a caravan of antique cars, policemen and firemen congregating outside of my bedroom window. They were followed very quickly by Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, marching bands, Little League teams and more.

Old Greenwich on Memorial Day is the exact image of a quintessential American town. Town sports teams, Greenwich schools’ band members, Girl Scouts and more parade on platforms down Sound Beach Avenue. My family and I walk into town each year, amongst families carrying small children, barbecue smoke, confetti and flags.

Memorial Day in Greenwich is unlike any other. Although high school students study fiercely for upcoming exams, college students are finally home, families are together, and the town becomes more than just a neighborhood.

When I look out onto Sound Beach Avenue during the parade, it’s hard for me to grasp that just before I saw cars zooming by along this same road. I always find it amazing that our small town can transform into a symbol of pride in just a few hours. The hustle and bustle slows down and we need to take that time to do something important like this. It’s wonderful to see this be such a continued priority in this community.

Monday marked the day when neighborhoods across the country transformed into a symbol of American pride and unity, celebrating the soldiers who protect and save the dignity of our nation.

 

Sarah Jackmauh is a junior at Convent of the Sacred Heart.

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