Tomorrow is Memorial Day.
In spite of its seemingly self-explanatory name, this holiday is frequently confused with Veterans Day. While it is completely appropriate to honor all who have served or who are currently serving in our armed forces, Memorial Day is special in that it is set aside to remember the thousands of men and women who have died fighting for our freedom. The history of the holiday dates back to the Civil War, when women and children from both the North and the South decorated the graves of fallen soldiers and commemorated the loss of life.
Though not sanctioned as an official federal holiday until 1967, Memorial Day has evolved into a day that marks the beginning of summer. As such, the purpose of the holiday has unfortunately been overshadowed by backyard barbecues and family get-aways.
President Ronald Reagan once said,
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
This Memorial Day I encourage you to set aside some time to truly reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that has been made by more than a million men and women. Here are four ideas to point you in the right direction:
1. Pray for the families of fallen soldiers. These families have also suffered great loss, and such loss merits an acknowledgement. You might even make a phone call or write a note of gratitude to one such family.
2. Watch a YouTube video about Memorial Day. There are a number of well-done videos, slideshows, and short documentaries that are easily searchable on the web.
3. Attend a parade or special commemoration service. There is usually at least one such event planned in almost every community.
4. Fly the American flag. It seems like such a simple thing, but I’m always moved by the many American flags that show up in various places on Memorial Day weekend.
Whatever we do, we must never forget the sacrifice of our brave men and women.
IT’S YOUR TURN!
How will you observe Memorial Day?