Cemeteries throughout the area are planning services Monday to honor the dead.
Although it began as a holiday honoring fallen soldiers, over the years Memorial Day has become America's day to mourn and celebrate the memory of anyone who has died.
Flowers bloom on countless graves and millions of flags fly high on the last Monday of the month. Lawrence will be no different.
Three services are planned for Memorial Day in Lawrence. Members of all local veterans groups will participate in each ceremony, which include guest speakers and gun salutes. The public is invited to attend the services.
At 11 a.m. Monday, Dorsey-Liberty Post No. 14 of the American Legion will sponsor a 30-minute service at Oak Hill cemetery in eastern Lawrence. The Legion ceremony will include remarks from Lt. Col. Donald Denmark of the U.S. Army, a traditional gun salute, the singing of ``The Battle Hymn of the Republic,'' and the playing of the anthem ``Taps.''
In addition, the names of those who have died since last Memorial Day will be read.
American Legion Commander Leo Langlois said a crew would be out at 7 a.m. Monday putting up as many as 289 flags. The number signifies the number of legionnaires who have died since around World War II.
``If the weather's nice and the crew's big enough, we'll set all those flags out,'' Langlois said.
Last year, more than 1,800 cars came through Oak Hill during the Memorial Day weekend, said cemetery manager Mitch Young.
Right across 15th Street from Oak Hill, at Memorial Park Cemetery, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 852 will host a similar service, also at 11 a.m. Monday.
Guest remarks will be given by Holocaust survivor Eva Edmands, whose husband is a World War II veteran.
``A lot of our veterans are forgotten, and we're out there to make sure that they're never forgotten,'' said Debbie Meek, incoming VFW auxiliary president. ``A lot of young people don't remember what patriotic is. That's what we're trying to show them.''
Although the service is mainly for veterans, Meek said the VFW will place a flag on a loved one's grave if asked by a family member.
On Saturday morning, the VFW began placing flags on the graves of all veterans and auxiliary members. And on Monday morning, the ``avenue of flags,'' similar to the display at Oak Hill, will be raised.
The Disabled American Veterans Chapter No. 22 will also host a service, beginning at 9 a.m. Monday at the Maple Grove Cemetery in North Lawrence.
Area ceremonies include those at Clinton Cemetery and at Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin.
Sponsored by the Clinton Flower Club, the Clinton Cemetery service will begin at 10 a.m. Monday with a flag processional performed by ROTC cadets from Topeka's Highland Park High School.
Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin will hold an American Legion service, also at 10 a.m. Monday.
-- Matt Gowen's phone message number is 832-7222. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.