Memorial Day is a time to stop and pay respects to the many who served in the military branches and gave their lives to protect our democracy. I often think of those in Arlington National Cemetery among and between the long manicured rows of white headstones. Gone but never forgotten!

Kevin Hayden and Miniard Culpepper, two accomplished attorneys with Oak Bluffs roots, are pivoting to the world of elected office. Kevin Hayden has been appointed by Governor Charlie Baker to the position of Suffolk County district attorney to fill out the unexpired term of Rachael Rollins who has become U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts. Mr. Culpepper is running for the position of state senator for the second Suffolk District, which is being vacated by Sonia Chang-Diaz, who is running for governor.

Mr. Hayden — the son of Robert Hayden, acclaimed historian and founding president of the Martha’s Vineyard branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History — previously served 11 years in the district attorney’s office where he led the Safe Neighborhood Initiative, among other recognized programs.

Mr. Culpepper, a long time Oak Bluffs cottage owner, has recently stepped down as regional counsel at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and previously served on Capital Hill, working for Congresswoman Cardiss Collins. He also serves as the senior pastor of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

The Vineyard community is rallying to support them both. Friends of Mr. Hayden are organizing a meet and greet fundraiser at the cottage of Jane Edmunds on June 11. Friends of Mr. Culpepper are organizing a similar event on July 9 in Oak Bluffs.

Kudos to Skip Finley and the Vineyard Gazette Media Group for their efforts to elevate the historic significance of Juneteenth, which became a federal holiday when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act in 2021. The Vineyard program curated for commemorating the emancipation of African-American slaves is eclectic and comprehensive. From Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs and Edgartown there is something for everyone. Panels, music, readings, a gospel brunch and films are representative of the festivities. Come out and learn some new history and meet some interesting people beginning June 17-19. Don’t forget to check out the curated list of Juneteenth books from the National Museum of African American Museum of History and Culture!

The local NAACP branch is holding a creative arts contest open to all students, from kindergarten to high school seniors. The theme this year is Juneteenth. Students can enter a painting, drawing, piece of writing, music, photography, digital art or other forms of artistic expression for the contest. Submit entries by email to no later than Friday, June 17.

Friends will join family at 1 p.m. this Saturday at Waban Park to celebrate the life and legacy of the incomparable Calvin (Kern) Grimes.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting.