Memorial Day has been called the unofficial beginning of summer. It is usually a time when people pack up the car and go somewhere for the long weekend. I feel that over the past few years, people have been getting back to what Memorial Day was originally intended for: honoring those who served and are no longer with us.
I’m not saying there’s something wrong with taking a trip. Whatever you’re doing, you should be mindful of why we celebrate Memorial Day. The United States doesn’t have a draft. Every last man and woman who serves in the Armed Forces does so of their own free will. These people know what they’re signing up for and they go ahead anyway. To say it’s not an easy thing to do is an understatement. Our men and women knowingly and willingly go into danger when everyone else’s first instinct is to avoid it. Unfortunately, some who do this don’t make it back.
There are veterans in my family (Army and Marines) and Wife’s (Air Force). My grandfathers (Army and Navy) and Wife’s (Army) served in World War II. Every Memorial Day, we visit the resting place of Wife’s grandfather. We don’t forget, but The Oppressed likes to ask every year if we’re going. We do, and on the way there is some ceremony taking place, usually downtown, to honor the dead. We make that ceremony, no matter how small or how quick it is.
There are plenty of reasons to celebrate Memorial Day. Those reasons can be found marked with gravestones and American flags. The Oppressed was happy one year when she and a group of friends got to put the flags at the spots occupied by those who served. It’s a way of reminding herself why we have Memorial Day. There are a lot of brave daddies (and mommies) who left their families and didn’t make it back. For Wife and me, our grandfathers, our other relatives, and our friends made it back. Today, we remember those who didn’t. We remember those who knew what they were signing up for and left their homes and their families for that greater purpose that called them. Today, I hope your day allows a moment to pass through a cemetery and see the graves marked with flags. Some towns have a memorial in the center with a statue or a flag to honor those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice. Remember those who didn’t make it, and if you one of those who did, Thank you.