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Holiday for honor, not parties

ALBANY -- Memorial Day is meant to honor those fallen in war, and apparently that is what people have been doing the past few years.

Unlike the flag waving of Flag Day on June 14 and the fireworks red glare of July 4, Memorial Day doesn't make for increased purchases of flags or patriotic party goods, said Jerry Doyal.

Doyal owns Doyal's on Oglethorpe Boulevard, a party and event specialty store. He offers a multitude of flags, Uncle Sam hats and a great variety of red, white and blue patriotic-party items at his store.

All the items sell better for Flag Day and Independence Day, he said.

"We sell some at Memorial Day, but not a lot," Doyal said. "We used to see a lot more parties on Memorial Day, but now we close that day."

Sunday and today will bring families to Crown Hill Cemetery to pay their respects to their fallen relatives, said Brian Crissman, an employee at the Kimbrell-Stern Funeral Directors, which owns the cemetery.

"It seems to me there are less parties and more people honoring their loved ones in the past few years," Crissman said.

According to the website usmemorialday.org:

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

It is suggested that people observe the day by:

n Visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.

n Visiting memorials.

n Flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.

n Flying the POW/MIA Flag as well.

n Participating in a "National Moment of Remembrance": at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.

n Renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen and to aid the disabled veterans.