Remembering the true meaning of Memorial Day

Remembering the true meaning of Memorial Day
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:19 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As Alaskans head into the Memorial Day weekend, many are getting ready to spend time with friends and family.

While it’s fun to have a day off work and fire up the grill during this unofficial start to summer, it’s easy for some to forget the true significance of this day.

Memorial Day is meant to honor and remember the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice and died fighting for our freedom. And while we honor the fallen, it’s important to also remember the complexities of grief for those they left behind.

That’s where Cohen Veterans Network steps in to help. The organization aims to help veterans, service members, and their families through the challenges of military life, the transition to civilian life, and beyond.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Anchorage is part of this network, helping to provide military families with behavioral health care.

The director of the clinic, Marybeth Goodman, says it’s important to remember how Memorial Day can affect those who have lost loved ones.

“One of the best ways to address Memorial Day head on is to simply not say, ‘Happy Memorial Day,’ Goodman said. “And I know that sounds trite, but for a lot of people it’s not happy. It’s a day of reflection, it’s a day of remembering.”

Goodman says some ways to honor the fallen this Memorial Day is to place wreaths at grave sites, participate in a cleanup project at a local VFW or local American Legion, or even simply lending a listening ear to someone who is struggling.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to teach the younger generations about some of our history, some of the tragic loss, but also remember why we are allowed to be in this free country,” Goodman said.