Here we are once again. The pools are open, the beaches are full, and I, a lifelong devotee of having a suntan, remain two shades lighter than a jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise. Of course, the days of lounging at the beach, or by the pool, for hours are long gone, but I have found that by using an appropriate sunblock, and sitting outdoors for 20-30 minutes a day, a nice tan can be accomplished with minimal sun damage, thanks to the more than minimal amount of melanin with which my Mediterranean ancestors blessed me. Besides, doctors are telling us that 20-30 minutes of sun exposure each day is O.K., because it helps elevate Vitamin D levels. And, as someone who thrives in sunlight and has a hard time dealing with cloudy, overcast days, that Vitamin D provides a natural way to elevate my mood and help improve my overall being.

Memorial Day announces the unofficial arrival of the summer vacation season, yet it is so much more than suntans, cookouts and pool parties. It’s the day we as a nation remember all of our military personnel who perished while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. According to a number of sources, the Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. During World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. Then, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

Twenty-eight years ago the St. Simons Island Rotary Club began Taps at Twilight, a Memorial Day observance that honors and remembers all veterans. The club, through a statement, says that Taps at Twilight provides “a meaningful way for the Golden Isles to gather together to honor the men and women who have fallen in the service of our country, those who have valiantly served and returned and those who are serving today.” The observance is saluted in our centerpiece.

The ceremony begins at 6:45 p.m. May 27, and will include the posting of colors, patriotic music, a wreath presentation and an address given by Lt. Col. Kenneth M. Dwyer, Commander, U.S. Garrison Hunter Army Airfield. Dwyer has served several tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Also in this issue, our columnists are full of fun and practical advice, we visit the Chamber Experience and stop by the Creatures of the Marsh event, and swing by a Habitat for Humanity build to learn about an upcoming event.

As an aside, Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” Nowhere is that more evident than in the publishing business. Now, in our 50th anniversary year, Coastal Illustrated is making some changes.

We can’t wait for you to see our June 6 issue.

Enjoy the issue, and stay tuned!