I once heard someone say, “Happy Memorial Day”. It struck me as odd, since this is the day on which we honor and remember those that gave their lives defending our country, you know, us. It shouldn’t be a happy day. It should be a day filled with reverence, thoughtfulness, and a time to ponder history and the brave souls who made this country possible. In today’s commercialized society, amidst the hype of Memorial Day sales, the Indy 500, and barbecues… the meaning of the day can get lost. This is not acceptable. By all means, enjoy the long weekend. Our heroes who have passed on would want it that way. Just please, as you grill your burger, watch the race, and go shopping, take a moment to give thanks to those who have kept us safe, even when they could not save themselves. In 1986 at Arlington National Cemetery, President Reagan said this:
“I was thinking this morning that across the country children and their parents will be going to the town parade and the young ones will sit on the sidewalks and wave their flags as the band goes by. Later, maybe, they’ll have a cookout or a day at the beach. And that’s good, because today is a day to be with the family and to remember.”
He also mentioned some of those laid to rest there:
“Here in Arlington rests a sharecropper’s son who became a hero to a lonely people. Joe Louis came from nowhere, but he knew how to fight. And he galvanized a nation in the days after Pearl Harbor when he put on the uniform of his country and said, “I know we’ll win because we’re on God’s side.” Audie Murphy is here, Audie Murphy of the wild, wild courage. For what else would you call it when a man bounds to the top of a disabled tank, stops an enemy advance, saves lives, and rallies his men, and all of it single-handedly. When he radioed for artillery support and was asked how close the enemy was to his position, he said, “Wait a minute and I’ll let you speak to them.””
Our war veterans are the greatest of Americans, and on Memorial Day, we will honor and remember them. Tell someone a story about a veteran, or ask someone if they know any.