Memorial Day Sign Goes Viral (Photo)

| by Michael Doherty

A small town restaurant's sign explaining why it was closed for Memorial Day has gone viral.

Kelly Ray, who works as the manager and chef at Mayberry's bar and grill in Washington, Kansas, got the idea for the sign from a previous job, The Wichita Eagle reports. The sign held a message honoring those who have given their lives to protect the U.S.

"We have 619,300 reasons to be closed on Monday," read the sign, before listing number of American casualties in wars and conflicts including WWI, WWII, and in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Brandon Lee, a customer at the restaurant, took a picture of the sign and posted it on Facebook, where it was shared more than 140,000 times.

"To see that it’s over 60,000 shares, that's amazing," Ray said of the post after the first shares. "If it helps get that message out there and maybe brings some people to Mayberry's, that’s great."

"I just love the message," the manager and chef added. "You don't have to like our president or like some of the things our government is doing, but you sure better respect those who have laid down their lives for us to be able to live here."

Ray said he got the idea for the sign when he was working at another restaurant, and the owner had wanted to stay open during the holiday.

"I mentioned to the owner that we should be closed for Memorial Day, and he said, 'I can’t think of one good reason why we would do that, because people are going to be out and they’ll want to eat,'" recalled Ray. "I saw a post on Facebook with the number of people who have died in our wars, so I basically just put that on a sign and showed it to him."

The numbers may not be the exact totals, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. But Ray said that he hopes the sign makes people think about veterans who lost their lives.

"People talk about Memorial Day being the start of summer and that sort of thing," said Ray. "But what it's really about is those people who died. I hope people think about them."

President Donald Trump is set to speak at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day to honor fallen veterans, CNN reports.

"Honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America," tweeted the president. "Home of the free, because of the brave. #MemorialDay."

Vice President Mike Pence also acknowledged veterans, speaking at the kickoff for a bike race for Project Hero, which is dedicated to aiding first responders and veterans.

"It is Memorial Day 2017," said the vice president. "Their duty was to serve. Our duty is to remember."

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