Meridian, Miss. Since 1967, Memorial Day has been recognized by the United States as a national holiday. Through ceremonies, recognition of fallen veterans, or just reflecting on the sacrifices of those who have given us our freedom, Memorial Day stands out as a patriotic holiday.
"It's a time to pause and a time to recognize those service members and families that are affected that have lost loved ones throughout the years, in all wars and it continues to this day," said Curt Goldacker of VFW Post 12124. "We still have members serving overseas and we still have unfortunately those who lose their lives."
Despite the true meaning of Memorial Day, many veterans feel that the significance of the holiday has been overtaken by the "Unofficial Kickoff to Summer" and through that some of our patriotism has been lost, according to District 4 Commander Norm Copeland.
"We used to be a nation of patriots and we used to stand proud when the American Flag went by and those things are gone," said Copeland. "I believe it's gone because we aren't getting into the classrooms early enough and teaching flag etiquette and why are we patriots and why are we interested in continuing the legacy of the United States for another 250 years."
Over the years the VA Hospital has been dealt several rounds of criticism in the way that veterans are treated. While Copeland understands that veterans have ran into these issues he does believe that veterans in Mississippi are getting the best care available.
"I'm not going to say the VA Hospital is perfect because it's not," said Copeland. "We make mistakes everyday over there. I'm fortunate enough to serve on the voluntary services committee for the VFW at the Sonny Montgomery Hospital. We meet regularly and discuss the issues in the hospital, things that are going on and what can make it better."