Remember the fallen, and drive safely this weekend

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Memorial Day weekend provides an opportunity to pay special tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives in service to this country. No sacrifice is greater.

There’s a great deal of history that surrounds the Memorial Day observance.

The honoring of those lost in military service began — according to most accounts — as Decoration Day to mark the passing of Civil War soldiers who died. Some accounts however have the observance starting earlier than that date.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we each, in our own way, take time to recognize those brave men and women who gave their lives to protect ours.

And in today’s society, we can also use this holiday weekend to honor and remember those in law enforcement who also made the same sacrifice.

At the same time, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer which is a magical time.

In my earlier newspaper days, I always drew the short straw and was assigned to news coverage on this weekend.

That often meant the obligatory photo of kids kicking off the summer season in a swimming pool, the picnics in the parks and unfortunately, the carnage on the highways.

That last aspect of this weekend is what I unfortunately remember the most.

I say a prayer for travelers this weekend. And with good reason.

There will be countless motorists — by some accounts record numbers — headed to summer fun locations this weekend. And that increased traffic always means accidents on the roadways.

Mix in alcohol or the excitement of recent graduates and tragically you often have the formula for a mishap that will impact families forever.

I vividly recall my first Memorial Day weekend news coverage in 1970 involved a wreck just south of Sikeston involving a stalled motorist and a truckload of immigrant farm workers.

The carnage was sufficient to initiate a special coverage at our hospital because of the number of injured. It was a memory that will never leave me.

As each of us uses this weekend for its intended purpose, we also need to be alert to the additional hazards involving heavy traffic on the roadways.

Come Tuesday morning, at the official end of this holiday weekend, there will sadly be stories of tragedies that involve highway accidents.

Nothing would please us more than reporting that there were no fatalities over this heavily-traveled weekend.

Help us achieve that goal. Drive safely!

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