Cathy Mullins, Director of Kentucky Remembers, is encouraging Owensboro to wear red on Fridays. RED, an acronym for “Remember Everyone Deployed,” began in a grassroots movement after 9/11 and aims to bring awareness to those serving in the military. For Cathy, a mother with a son currently deployed, the simple act of wearing red is very personal.
According to Cathy, less than 2% of the U.S. population serves in the Armed Forces. Cathy says most people do not have a military connection or veteran in their family, even back generations. So for her, it means a lot to see any support for the military.
In the veteran community, there is quite a lot of awareness of RED Fridays, Cathy says. Locally, the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, and other organizations support deployed military by wearing red. While RED Friday is a growing movement here locally, Cathy says it is still very small.
Cathy encourages community members to join the movement and wear red on Fridays. It could be an individual choice or business banding together to support those deployed in the military and their families.
“A lot of love, and a lot of blood has gone into that flag,” Cathy said. “Enjoy your freedom. It was paid for.”
But Cathy isn’t stopping with just RED Fridays. After the school calendar was extended through Memorial Day, Cathy quickly started brainstorming on how to further her mission of bringing attention to the those that have served in the military. She has started working with one of the local elementary schools to develop a unit of lesson plans for Memorial Day.
“Many do not realize that Memorial Day is completely different from Veterans Day,” Cathy said. Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Veteran’s Day is observed annually on November 11, and honors military veterans; that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces.
Cathy plans to combine a Memorial Day lesson with World Poppy Day, celebrated May 25, which is a day of remembrance that has roots as far back as WWI with the story of Flander’s Field. She hopes to have several of the elementary schools display hundreds of student-made “poppies,” using tissue paper, painting, or whatever media as a tribute to Flanders Field.
“Memorial Day Observance is not considered a holiday by families who have lost a family member such as ours,” Cathy said. “It is actually a congressionally designated date to remember those who have died in service while fighting for the freedoms out country enjoys.”