Memorial Day is the traditional kick off for Summertime, even though the official first day of summer is not until later in June. For many, Memorial Day means picnics, trips to the lake, baseball games, horseshoes, pool parties, kids out of school, barbecues and the Indy 500.
And, yes, it means all those things, but there is a greater meaning.
The loss of a loved one in war must be a horrible burden to bear, one that I have not personally felt, but one that I can empathize with completely.
Our great nation, however imperfect she may be, has stood the test of time and our brightest and best have stood up for her and defended her throughout history, some with the forfeiture of their lives.
The shot heard ’round the world. The Battle of New Orleans. Gettysburg. The Hundred Day Offensive. Pearl Harbor, Normandy, the Battle of the Bulge and Iwo Jima. The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir. The Tet Offensive. The Mother of All Battles. Kabul. Baghdad.
No matter your thoughts on these wars, you have to respect those that fought them for us, and those that made the ultimate sacrifice. They deserve no less.
Today, when you sit down with your family, friends or even alone, take a moment to reflect on those that stood tall to protect our freedom and liberty.
But I would also suggest that you remember those that lost their lives, but not in uniform, but for a cause greater than themselves.
Medgar Evers. Dr. King. Rachel Corrie. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Matthew Shepard. Harvey Milk. Rachel Corrie. Tom Hurndall. The Kennedy’s. And many, many more.
Today is the day we set aside to honor those that have come before us, blazing a trail so we all may have a better life. As you celebrate the day, stop to remember and honor those that have made this day possible.
It’s the least we can do.
William Stephenson Clark