Since it’s so easy to “observe” Memorial Day simply as the summer kick-off, or even as an annual opportunity to get out of town for an extended weekend (guilty as charged here), I want to share an acknowledgement of Memorial Day that might stir up the “real reason for the season,” so to speak. Here’s an excerpt from what I found on the website www.USMemorialDay.org.
Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning, a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery, where Memorial Day speeches were given and prayers offered up. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those the fell in service to their country.
“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.” — General Logan – May 5, 1868
We need to remember with sincere respect those who paid the price for our freedoms; we need to keep in sacred remembrance those who died serving their country. We need to never let them be forgotten. However, over the years the original meaning and spirit of Memorial Day has faded from the public consciousness.
“If it is considered a holiday, why is it so? I consider it to be a national day of mourning. This is how we observe this day in our home. Because of what that day represents the rest of the days of the year are our holidays.” — F L Lloyd West Chester, Pa USA – February 26, 2000
On Memorial Day we need to stop and pay with sincere conviction our respects for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay.
People of other nations sometimes show more of the true spirit of Memorial Day more than we do here. For example, a 2001 U.S. Memorial Day Guestbook entry from a citizen of the Netherlands states:
“In 1999 I laid flowers at the grave of a young U.S. fighter pilot who was KIA in my village in 1945. In the Netherlands I know of schools ‘adopting’ graves of Allied servicemen, keeping those graves in excellent condition! Does anybody know of adopting graves in the U.S. by schools?
Castricum, The Netherlands – Tue May 15 04:50:29 2001”
How many graves of our fallen do we in America leave dishonored by leaving their resting places forgotten and neglected?
Unfortunately, when Congress made Memorial day into a mandatory three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363), it made it all the easier for us to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day.
Enjoy Your Day
But please take a few moments to remember those who made the ultimate sacrfice defending it.