Thoughts on Memorial Day
Memorial Day is very important, and is not always remembered for it’s purpose.
Every American has been touched by someone in public service, active and retired from the military, and the brave heroes who been wounded and have died in service.
This is our day every year to remember, reflect, and respect their sacrifices and service.
Today there was a great Guest Opinion in our local newspaper – the Bucks Courier Times. I am sharing it here.
Cheating those who gave their lives for freedom
By JAMES F. LONG
It’s almost a shame that Memorial Day has evolved into the traditional launch of the summer season. In so becoming it has turned from a day of reflection into a three-day weekend celebration. It has gone from a quiet time to visit, prune and decorate graves to boisterous backyard barbecues, long trips to the shore, or short trips to a mall for whatever Memorial Day sales long advertised on the news and in the papers, beckon us.
How we cheat those who gave their lives for us, with that number being somewhere around 11,400,000, including about another 4,400 American men and women who have returned home from Iraq in a flag-draped coffins for their loved ones to bury prematurely. They certainly deserve to be thought of as more than an intrusion on an otherwise good time.
And so, we should all be encouraged to take a few hours sometime during Memorial Day weekend to honor the millions throughout our history who fought to preserve our freedom and our way of life, so that today we may now enjoy our present way of living.
There is much to pick from in the way of formal ceremonies, parades and other commemorations held to honor our war dead, by way of TV news, newspapers, etc. If not for yourself, do it for your children. Help them understand the origin of Memorial Day: that it began during the Civil War in the month of May when flowers were available to decorate soldiers’ graves. Thus, Decoration Day was established in 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. It was observed on May 30.
After World War I, Decoration Day was expanded to honor those who died in all U.S. wars and it was renamed Memorial Day. The three-day weekend was born in 1971 when Congress declared it a national holiday and moved it to the last Monday in May. And ever since, it appears the history and meaning of this holiday has slowly receded.
But more than its history, please help your children understand the nature of the day — that it is set aside to honor those who gave their lives on the battlefield and why. Make them aware of the day’s importance — and the importance of the brave men and women whom the day honors — by engaging in a somber ceremony or by taking at least a few moments to reflect. Do this before heading off to the shore, mall, or the neighbor’s noisy backyard barbecue.
May Memorial Day always endure to honor our wars’ dead who gave the supreme sacrifice, so today, we have malls, picnics to attend, and beautiful shores.
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