If it’s a holiday, expect that the Lions Club will be out pre-dawn planting flags on the square, 11th street, and Sam Houston Avenue. There’s a good chance the LEAP Ambassadors will be with them, helping.
Memorial Day was first observed in 1868, and for decades it was called Decoration Day, celebrating those lost in the Civil War. The casualties in World War I, however, prompted a need for a broader remembrance and the holiday became Memorial Day, and it now reflects lives lost in all wars. It was not until 1971 that it became a Federal Holiday.
World War I also contributed to the founding of the Lions Club. With problems besetting the world, Melvin Jones invited business clubs together, and the Lions Club was founded. The organization grew, becoming international by 1920, and expanded also in terms of its causes. Helen Keller spoke to the organization, challenging the Club to become “Knights of the Blind.” The Lions have championed the cause of vision since that day in 1925.
Of course their public service goes beyond vision, which is how we came to be helping them plant flags. We first assisted the Lions Club on MLK Day of this year, and it has helped us form professional networks, develop skills, and make some new friends.
So, next time you see the flags out on a holiday, remember that it was members of the Lions Club that awoke before dawn to put them there.
And, of course, this Memorial Day, remember the fallen soldiers to which this day is dedicated.