The weekend leading up to Memorial Day has typically signaled the beginning of the summer season. But far too often, the cookouts and family gatherings have deflected too much attention from the real meaning of the holiday.

The holiday that is held the final Monday of May honors all men and women who have died for their country while serving in the armed forces.

Remembering the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country doesn’t mean the cookouts must be cancelled — as long as the fundamental meaning of the holiday is not completely overlooked.

However, a 2019 Harris poll survey would seem to indicate that’s actually what’s happening.

The poll commissioned by the University of Phoenix discovered that only 55% of Americans know what Memorial Day is about.

That’s simply unforgiveable.

The survey of 2,025 adults showed that only 28% had attended a local ceremony or patriotic event on a previous Memorial Day. It also found that only 23% had flown a flag at half-staff, while 22% had left a flag or flowers at a gravesite or visited a military monument.

Of those who said they had participated in some form of commemoration activity on Memorial Day, 52% said they had thanked a veteran, 14% said they had worn a Memorial Day button, and 14% said they had joined in a National Moment of Remembrance, according to the survey.

This year, we should rededicate ourselves to preserving the true meaning of this holiday.

The Coronavirus pandemic will make this harder than ever to do as most of the official ceremonies have been cancelled or altered in the name of safety.

For example, the annual Memorial Day program hosted by the city of Florence and Lauderdale County will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Florence-Lauderdale County Veterans Memorial Park, but it will not be open to the public.

Instead, the event will be streamed live. The 30-minute ceremony will include posting the colors, the “National Anthem,” the laying of a wreath and special remembrances of fallen heroes. In addition, “Some Gave All” will be sung.

The theme of this year’s event is “Honoring our Fallen Heroes, Lest We Forget, and Some Gave All.”

We would encourage all Lauderdale and Colbert residents not to forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. Display your flags. Place wreaths on the graves of loved ones who served in the various military services. Enjoy your weekend celebrations.

But on Monday, pause long enough to give thanks to those whose service of country has protected the freedoms we enjoy. That’s the least we can do for those who have fallen.

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