Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Memorial Day just not the same

by Lisa Seiser

May 26, 2011

As Memorial Day approaches, thereís something missing ó I can feel it. Something is just not right.

Maybe itís less something than someone.

During my years as editor of the Regional News, to me, more than anyone, Ray Mellien signified Memorial Day. Itís probably my memories of him in his uniform marching or him being one of the special detail for the 21-gun salute so many times at ceremonies and events in the area. It also is because every year, about three weeks prior to Memorial Day, he would stop in at the newspaper office, give me a great smile and hand me the mock up of the American Legion Memorial Day program, often with his handwritten notes on the schedule for the dayís ceremony.

But, this year, thatís not how the Lake Geneva Memorial Day program arrived. Instead, it was in an e-mail. And, I wonít see Ray on the parade route in uniform or firing the blanks for the salute to end the ceremony.

On Nov. 27, 2010, Ray passed away at the age of 79. A Korean War Veteran who served in the Army and also served in Germany and France. I saw him at many events, mostly those that involved the American Legion and the Geneva Lake Museum. I talked to him a few times, but didnít know him really well. However, I will remember him always for his youthful smile, soft spoken nature, his commitment to Lake Geneva and his love of country and his fellow service men and women.

Ray Mellien was a hero ó just like all those we will honor on Monday, who helped preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.

So, when itís time for the moment of silence and taps is being played Monday morning, I will remember Ray.

I hope others will stop to think of a hero they know or knew. It could be a member of ďThe Greatest GenerationĒ who served during World War II, someone who lost his or her life in another war, a family member who served and has since passed or someone who is in harmís way right now serving our great country.

But, if you canít come up with anyone to think about, remember Ray. He represents the memory of all those who served and are no longer with us.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News and former U.S. Army Reservist.