And once again, we pause to remember many who gave their all so that we can have the lives we have, the freedoms we have, to be able to make the choices we can make, and enjoy the opportunities allowed, and protected, by the Constitution of these United States of America.
Many have already visited cemeteries where loved ones have been laid to rest. They have spent much time and expended much TLC decorating the resting places of family and friends. When tomorrow’s holiday was first established, it was referred to as Decoration Day, probably because of those in our military who were recognized and decorated for their giving their lives to help preserve, and protect, and defend, all that that Constitution included. How appropriate that we continue to recognize, and decorate, those individuals symbolically by decorating their resting places, and creating “mini-memorials” dedicated to those who gave their lives so we could have what we have today. Ironically too, the name of tomorrow’s celebrated holiday is now, Memorial Day.
The base word of the word Memorial is memory. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one definition of the word “memory” is “commemorative remembrance.” So, I guess this could be the unwritten theme of tomorrow’s celebration.
We live in a country that is based on remembering.
There are so many people, places, things, events, tragedies, accomplishments, and so many more people, places, and things that mean so much to so many of us, and to our country as well.
We celebrate people in this country, people like our Presidents, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan B. Anthony, to name just a few. We remember events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Man’s Landing on the Moon, 9-11, D-Day, VE Day, and VJ Day, among the many events imbedded in our memories.
We remember those who fought in Wars and Police Actions.
We remember those who were victims of hatred, violence, the senseless taking of lives, and those who tried to assist others in times of war, violence, and senseless killings.
We use remembering to be able to believe and to celebrate.
So tomorrow, we will not mourn the loss as much as we will celebrate the life of those who gave their lives to this country, it’s people, and the Document of Freedoms on which we base our lives.
We appreciate everyone who presently serve in the military.
We appreciate everyone who served and survived their dedicated commitment to serve.
We appreciate those who return(ed) from battle, some of them physically scarred, some mentally scarred, many of them emotionally scarred, but did return.
Tomorrow is reserved to celebrate those who lost their lives in any conflict which involved our country or the ideals of freedom attacked, threatened, or being threatened, by other nations, religions, political beliefs, by hatred, or jealousy, by greed, or want, for what we have, or because of the fact that we do have it. And yes, we mark all graves of veterans who have left this earth, to also signify their dedication and service to this country, it’s people, and Constitution, but we especially pay tribute to all those who did give that “last full measure of devotion,” in their service to Country, God, and Man.
In a song titled “Chicken Fried,” by the Zac Brown Band, there were a couple of lyrics which are very applicable to the celebration of Memorial Day. One stanza included the words:
“I thank God for my life
And for the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly
Let it ring
Salute the ones who died
The ones that give their lives
So we don’t have to sacrifice
All the things we love”
Would it not be for the amazingly patriotic nature and motivation of John Phillip Sousa’s marches and songs of tribute to the red, white, and blue, and the popularity of Lee Greenwood’s 1984 song, “God Bless the U. S. A.,” the lyrics of Zac Brown might be considered right up their as an American Classic song for our country.
At least that part of the song noted above, could be sung loudly at many Memorial Day picnics following the parades featuring Sousa’s music, and some ceremonies that include Greenwood’s musical statement of pride to be living in this country.
As a former teacher, one of the subjects I taught was Social Studies, with one of its components being History. I loved studying history.
I loved bringing ancient civilizations to my students, looking at early cultures, government, traditions, many of which shaped the way we live today.
I enjoyed our study of the Middle Ages, and how life was during the Feudal Times in Europe. I enjoyed the study of American History, looking at how this country was founded, how Industry made a huge impact on life in our country and others. We studied the conflicts with which America was involved. We studied the Holocaust, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Some of what we studied was exciting, some tragic, some ugly, but it was a part of our past, part of what our lives were shaped by, and it involved many people, especially the ones we will honor tomorrow.
Noted philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist, George Santayana (b. 1863 – d. 1952), in 1905, once said, “Those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” In 1948, Winston Churchill paraphrased that statement in a speech given to the House of Commons. What we will do tomorrow will allow us to remember, not necessarily some of the “what” of the past, but many of the “who” of the past, and it is imperative that they, and their service and commitment, never be forgotten.
So tomorrow, as you stand with pride as Old Glory passes by, remember the fallen and send a “Thank you” skyward to those who fell and are now watching over us from above. Say that “Thank you” for their true devotion and commitment, and for making the ultimate sacrifice for this country, and the people who are proud to live here.
Happy Memorial Day to all, and God Bless these United States of America.