This Leavenworth veteran keeps the stories of fallen soldiers alive for Memorial Day
A former Army captain shares how he celebrates the lives of soldiers who died under his command, and how Kansas Citians can take part in honoring military men and women who have died while serving this country.
Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day became an U.S. federal holiday in 1971 to commemorate military members who have died while serving the country.
The holiday is significant for Army veteran Lynn Rolf, who served as military police captain in Iraq.
"It's a tough day," Rolf said. "But at the same time, it's a great opportunity to give back and educate our community in general."
Rolf lost multiple soldiers under his command, and while he said the guilt he feels has gotten better, it's still there and he thinks about them daily.
"I give back and help others and honor them every day," Rolf said.
Rolf, who is the director of programs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, traveled from Leavenworth, Kansas to Washington, D.C., to help construct the Poppy Wall of Honor, a temporary Memorial Day display expected to garner hundreds of thousands of visitors.
The wall commemorates the more than 645,000 servicemembers who have died while serving their country.
In Kansas City, The Nation World War I Museum and Memorial, will host a multi-day event to honor the lives of deceased service members.
The weekend celebration will include military vehicle displays, a band composed of injured service members, an opportunity for visitors to recognize their own loved one's service and 92 new bricks that will be dedicated along the Walk of Honor, among other activities.
"It seems to me that you know, this Memorial Day weekend, and then more specifically Monday, is a great opportunity for us to connect with the grief and the loss that so many people experienced because of their service," Matt Naylor, president and CEO of The National World War I Museum and Memorial said.
"And maybe that's one of the most shared human emotions, is loss and grief, and perhaps then it allows me and others to be able to connect more deeply to gold star familieswho continue to carry that loss," he continued.