Memorial Day; A Day To Say Thank You

“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

Like our chicken fried”

The above words come from the lyrics of a Zac Brown song about a person’s appreciation for some of the things in his life that he’s proud of, he likes and he is comfortable with, though to some others they might be a bit too simple for their own tastes. One thing he does do in his profession of some of his preferences, is say thank you for the freedoms of this country that allow him to enjoy his “chicken fried, a cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio up.” He also recognizes the many who fought for those freedoms, some of them giving their lives so we all can live free in this country.

“Now this nation that I love has fallen under attack

A mighty sucker punch came flyin’ in from somewhere in the back

Soon as we could see clearly

Through our big black eye

Man, we lit up your world

Like the fourth of July

Hey Uncle Sam, put your name at the top of his list

And the Statue of Liberty started shakin’ her fist

And the eagle will fly man, it’s gonna be hell

When you hear Mother Freedom start ringin’ her bell

And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you

Brought to you courtesy of the red white and blue.”

These words come from the lyrics of a Toby Keith hit, that was released early in 2002, a few months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001m in New York City, Arlington, Va., and, in Stonycreek Township, Pa. Had it been written 60 years earlier, it could also have been sung following the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces marking our country’s initial involvement in World War II.

Two days from today, both of those songs can be sung in all their patriotic glory, as we remember and memorialize all those Americans from both of those conflicts, and all other wars and/or police actions, where our country lost lives to other forces in the world.

Though September 11, 2001, was not classified as a war, many lives were lost that day as a result of our country being attacked on our own soil. We can look upon the victims of this attack, be they civilian, military, or first responders as Americans who lost their lives in some type of war, conflict, or attack on our country and/or our constitution.

We designate May 30th as the official Memorial Day. We celebrate it annually on the last Monday of May, with patriotic parades, moments of silence, and cemetery speeches. We recite prayers, watch gun salutes, and/or maybe fireworks displays which symbolize some of the battlefield action which lead to the heroic sacrifice of life given by so many in preserving, protecting, and/or defending our country and the ideals and freedoms outlined in the constitution by which we live.

It is imperative that we gather and remember those people who perished in any of those circumstances. Our celebration of the meaning of Memorial Day could be interpreted as a reminder of what George Santayana was saying in his quote from his 1905, Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense quote from Scribner’s, when he wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Not only is it important to just remember the things that happened, in these conflicts, or focus on the places where they happened. It is just as important, if not more, to remember the people who served, and lost their lives in trying to defeat those looking to thwart freedom here, or somewhere else in the world. That is the reason we designate this day in May each year to properly acknowledge those who gave their last full measure of devotion. It allows us to say “thank you,” and though we have to do it posthumously, it is important that we continue to do it as often as we can, and especially on the National Day to gather and do it.

To all who gave their lives so we can life free, Thank You!


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