It has been a long, cold, hard, and record breaking winter. Spring got a late start in many parts of the country but finally, the warmer summer weather is here. It is the unofficial – official start to the summer season. It is Memorial Day and that is usually the kickoff of all things summer.
Kids are eagerly awaiting for that last day of class. Parents are making those last minute plans for summer vacation. Resorts all over the country are gearing up for non-stop guests. This is the time we gather in the neighborhood for grilling in the back yard, on the deck or, if you live in the city or in an apartment building, cook outs on the balcony. It seems we all find a way to cook outside and spend time with family and friends. People in small towns gather on the town square or throw a block BBQ. In short, we do what we do best. We act American on a day such as this by eating hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ chicken, potato salad apple pie, and beer. Lots of beer.
But there is a bigger meaning behind this particular day. Like with many of our major holidays, there is a bigger, a deeper meaning.
Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday in the month of May since 1868 after the end of the American Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans, established this day for the nation to remember and decorate the graves of war dead with flowers. The key here is to “remember” the war dead of this great nation. Every single soldier who gave their lives for this nation did so with the purpose of great meaning and ideology. That ideology was that of liberty, freedom for their family, their friends, their neighbors, their countrymen and their posterity. It was a sacrifice that has no equal.
You see, they would not be able to enjoy all that they fought and died for. They would not enjoy the BBQ chicken and hot dogs and hamburgers. They would not see the cemeteries lined with flags of the Union or the flowers that decorate their head stones. The war dead would not get to share in the freedom in which they fought and died in order to preserve. We not only have a duty to remember and thank them. It is our obligation. A noble and sincere obligation that should not be taken lightly.
You see, if they had not been willing to give the ultimate of sacrifices, you and I would not have a holiday to celebrate the coming of summer. We would not enjoy the parades. We would not have a day off from work and school. We would be serving another master, another tyrant, another dictator, another king. None of whom would give us a say in how we are governed or how we live.
Yes, this is a short article. It is short because the notion is simple. On this day, every day for sure, but on this day in particular, I implore you to remember that you are American. And as Americans to revere and remember all those who gave them the freedom to enjoy the back yard gatherings that we have grown to love and cherish. What is more important than those gatherings is that we have the liberty to gather without fear of the government breaking up the festivities and throwing the hosts into dark jails shackled and chained.
On this day, Memorial Day, all I can say is … REMEMBER.
Thank you and God Bless America and God Bless all those who have served.