‘As I See It’ by Gary Truitt: A Time for Flags and Food


The Memorial Day holiday is full of traditions both official and unofficial. Most of the official traditions have to do with flags, while the unofficial ones have food involved.

Originally designed to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War, the tradition of decorating the graves of the fallen warriors with flowers or flags caused the day to be known as Decoration Day. After World War I and II, the day evolved to include all those killed in battles. In 1950, Congress designated Memorial Day as a day of “prayer for permanent peace;” in 1968, Congress fixed the date as the last Monday in May. It only became a Federal holiday in 1971.

Another official tradition was set in place by President Bill Clinton in 2000 when he called on all Americans to observe a moment of remembrance at 3pm on Memorial Day. By Presidential order, all flags are to be flown at half staff on Memorial day until noon, then raised “briskly” to full staff as a salute to the fallen soldiers.

There is no official food for Memorial Day, but culinary traditions abound. Most involve grilling. According to industry statistics, 8 out of 10 homeowners in the U.S. have a grill. Most of the items that will be on those grills will be meat including hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, ribs, pork chops, chicken legs, and wings. Bratwurst, lamb, shrimp, bison, and goat may be tried by some of the more adventurous.  All this is a testament to the importance of the livestock industry. Though chided by radical environmentalists and criticized by vegans, just think of what Memorial Day would be like without meat.

Fruits and vegetables also play a big role in this holiday. With strawberries and blueberries just coming into season, pies and fruit salads will make their appearance next to the meat. Then the dairy industry produces cheese for the hamburgers and, of course, ice cream for dessert.

So, amidst your flag waving and face stuffing, be sure take a moment to remember those soldiers, known and unknown, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Also thank the American farmers who made it possible for you to enjoy your holiday in such a deliciously satisfying way.

That’s how I see it.

Gary Truitt

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Hoosier Ag Today, its employees, advertisers, or affiliated radio stations.



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