FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Monday, May 31, is Memorial Day, honoring the men and women who died while serving our country.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and folks would beautify the graves of military personnel who died while on military duty with flowers, wreaths, and American flags — it is a tradition that continues today.
It became an official federal holiday in 1971.
Sheep Dog Impact Assistance (SPIA) is an organization that works with veterans. SDIA Developmental Director Michael Nimmo said it’s important for people to remember Memorial Day.
“It’s all about honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Not only in our military fields service members but also first responders. It’s all about getting out there and remembering the true meaning of Memorial Day weekend,” said Nimmo.
Here are some ways you can observe the holiday; by visiting national or military cemeteries.
All of the headstones were cleaned last week at the Fayetteville National cemetery and now American flags have been placed on every headstone to honor the fallen military service members. The headstones will stay decorated until Tuesday morning where volunteers will then pick up all the American flags.
You may also participate in the ‘National Moment of Remembrance’ that happens at 3 p.m. local time, where you take a moment of silence. You can fly the American flag at half staff until noon and visit a memorial.
Sheep Dog is working to make sure veterans aren’t forgotten. The organization also gives veterans the opportunity to continue to serve their communities and beyond.
When there is a disaster like a major storm or a tornado, you will often see Sheep Dog assistance members at the scene removing debris, cleaning up, and helping in relief efforts. Well, those members are veterans and first responders.
Its members get deployed to regions impacted by disasters across the nation.
Nimmo says through its programs veterans find a purpose and mission in life. He says he knows personally how tough it can be to transition back to civilian life after service. Having an organization like Sheep Dog to fall back on helped him get his life back on track.
“Sheepdog was that outlet for me, giving me purpose and mission in my life. It got me off the couch it got me to reengage with first responders and veterans in my life with like-minded people so I had people to lean on,” says Nimmo.
The organization provides many other resources to its members like through its outdoor adventure program. Members participate in activities like biking and water sports to help maintain an active lifestyle. It also offers a non-clinical mental health program to its members.
If you do know a veteran who is having a tough time Nimmo says not to stop loving on them. Let them know there are veterans just like them who made it through the hardship and are living successful lives and they can too with the right support.