For Highland Park resident Linda Lovino, the meaning of Memorial Day has grown each year since 2008, when her father Neil P. Lovino passed away at the age of 90.
"Memorial Day brings back special memories of growing up with the only hero in my life which was my Dad," Linda wrote on Patch.
Her father, a marine who served in World War II, was also a prisoner for three years in the Philippine Islands. He is also a survivor of the Bataan Death March, where American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese were forced to march more than 60 miles through intense heat with almost no water or food, according to PBS.org.
In 1945, Back to Bataan, a movie was released about the Death March featuring John Wayne and Anthony Quinn. See a trailer of the movie in the video section on the right.
"My Dad with several other men who survived the death march are at the end of that movie," Linda wrote. "When we were children, it would always be on the Late Late Show and our Mother would wake us up at the end of the movie so we could see our Dad. They did not have DVD's in those days so if we did not wake up to see him we would miss our chance until it was on TV again."
Linda says she plans to visit her father at the cemetery on Memorial Day and to see other flags in the cemetery that represent other veterans who have served America.
"I continue to pray for our Armed Forces that are fighting for our freedom today. Freedom is not free without our Veterans. If you happen to see a Veteran, thank him or her for their service. You will be surprised how much it means to them that we have taken the time to notice. By wearing a poppy flower is another way of thanking them for their service," she wrote.
Patch reader David Greenberg says we should never forget the services of those who serve our country.
"To me, Memorial Day is an all-too-brief moment in time to reflect and remember the actions of all those brave and selfless souls who have come before me in defense of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Greenberg commented on Patch. "As you stand up to salute our flag passing by you during a parade this Memorial Day, be ever mindful of the meaning of the Red, White, and Blue. Never forget."