Memorial Day for so many is a three day weekend, a fresh
start to summer, first day on the lake, or to a majority of TV personalities - a way to sell hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh fruits and backyard grills. Enjoy this time spent with your family. Enjoy the freedom to shop, cook, and relax without the stress of work on a Monday. However, while you are enjoying this freedom and relaxation - I hope you will at least take a moment to remember why we have this freedom and who sacrificed to give you this freedom.
A little background you might not know - and in doing research for this piece, I'm not quite sure we even teach this in our classrooms anymore.
Memorial Day started in 1868 to remember those that had recently died in the Civil War - which had ended 3 years prior. During the American Civil War nearly half a million people lost their lives. Initially, the date was set as May 30, because it was one of the only dates that was not an anniversary of a battle during the War. That day - May 30 - was not a day of backyard BBQ's or poolside relaxation - that day was spent decorating the graves of those Civil War soldiers. It wasn't spent decorating only the union graves - it was spent honoring ALL graves.
America has been defended by all races, nationalities, and religions - not for a particular race, nationality or religion - but for everyone. They honored everyone.
In 1971, the named changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day and becoming a national holiday on the last Monday in May.
There is nothing wrong with having fun and enjoying your freedom on this day off of work and a long three-day weekend. In fact, isn't our freedom the reason that so many brave soldiers have given their life?
Millions have given their life in order to maintain our freedom, this country, and our values. Don't forget that. Because when we forget where we have come from then we don't have a foundation to stand upon.
So if you see a solider today, say thank you. If you see a solider this week, say thank you. If you see a solider in a month, say thank you.
Don't be ungrateful, because you are where you are today - because of a solider like them.
"In the end, our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. [We] should never forget their sacrifices." President Harry S. Truman.