One of the things we love about the Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas is the tremendous show of patriotism on holidays like Memorial Day.
Although Memorial Day is a day meant to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country, it is also a day to thank those who have retired and continue to serve.
The holiday was called Decoration Day until 1882, but Memorial Day was declared the official name of the holiday by Federal law in 1967. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill. President Lyndon B. Johnson, upon signing the bill said,
"The bill that we sign today will help Americans to enjoy more fully the country that is their magnificent heritage. It will also aid the work of Government and bring new efficiency to our economy... This will mean a great deal to our families and our children. It will enable families who live some distance apart to spend more time together. Americans will be able to travel farther and see more of this beautiful land of ours. They will be able to participate in a wider range of recreational and cultural activities."
NewsChannel 15 crews spent Memorial Day all over the area capturing the sights and sounds of this day.
In North Myrtle Beach, Operation Welcome Home held two tribute rides on the way to North Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens where an annual event drew about 150 people. The North Myrtle Beach Color Guard performed for veterans that attended the event.
Three wreaths were presented at a service in the North Myrtle Beach Memorial Gardens. A red wreath representing strength, a white wreath representing purity and a blue wreath representing eternity. After the wreath presentation, there was a 21 gun-salute presented by the Carolina Border attachment of the Marine Corps League.
Further south on the Grand Strand, in Myrtle Beach, the Grand Strand Patriotic Alliance gathered outside the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. A couple hundred people came out to hear keynote speaker, Myrtle Beach City Councilman Randal Wallace. Wallace talked about his time serving with Senator Bob Dole, an honored WWII veteran.
In the Pee Dee, Charles W. Bagnal, LTG, USA (Ret) was the keynote speaker at a program at the Florence National Cemetery. About 225 people came out to the event, including West Florence and South Florence High School's ROTC units.