It’s that time of year where we speak of “the kickoff to summer,” as we celebrate a long weekend and fire up the grill…
But it’s not about the burgers, is it?
Of course, it is a great opportunity to hang out with family and friends and enjoy time together–but if we don’t stop to remember why we have this day off, well, then…we miss out. Memorial Day isn’t just an arbitrary Monday off in the US.
It’s so much more than that.
Since I post to this blog on Mondays, I knew that there would be a post of mine from last year’s Memorial Day. In looking back at it, it still pretty much says what I feel about this day, so I’m going to share it here again. I hope that you will find it worth a few minutes of your time. And I hope that you make the time to remember this day for its true intent: to honor the fallen who gave their lives so that we might be able to live ours in freedom.
[To the international readers who grace me with your visits–thank you! And I hope you can understand and appreciate my focus on today’s American holiday of Memorial Day.]
On This, We Can Agree
Originally published 5.27.13
Most people recognize that today’s America is extremely polarized. Hostile camps are set up on pretty much every issue, to the point where our government can’t even work together to solve very solvable problems, and our population is all too comfortable denigrating one another’s views. But on this—I hope, I pray—we can agree: we thank and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. And we are grateful to all those who serve.
Memorial Day was created after the Civil War to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war. (And, of course, it has evolved to honor all Americans who have died in military service.) But perhaps its origin should be a lesson to us today—that extremely opposite sides can come together to honor the sacrifices made for this blessed country of ours.
I don’t mean to be simplistic about this at all. War is certainly not just good vs evil. Sometimes it is not even right. But no matter what the gray areas are of any given conflict, we must always remember that we have people who say, “I will risk my life for this”—and the “this” is ultimately the freedom we Americans enjoy—warts and all.
My dad served in World War II. My father-in-law was present at the Cuban Missile Crisis. I never got to know a cousin of mine because he died in Vietnam when I was just a baby. I have friends and neighbors who bravely serve and have served. Hundreds of thousands of people who don’t even know me are taking care of business on my behalf.
Thank you all.
I pray that as a country we strive to be better people every day, and that we grow in acceptance, respect, and love for one another. To me, anything less is a dishonor to those who have given us their all.