Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season. People put boats in the water and head to campgrounds to celebrate the arrival of the warm weather. Monday is so much more than a day off work. I enjoy a BBQ and celebrating my freedom as much as the next patriot, but we have many days to do that. We are blessed to have days like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving dedicated to celebrating and remembering our history and the freedoms we’ve been given.
Monday simply is not one of them.
On Monday, we honor the fallen. Those brave men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion are not an excuse to break out the grill or begin wearing white. They deserve so much more than that. We can and should be proud of their sacrifice. We should honor and support their families’ members left behind. We should strive to make sure that we raise children as honorable as those who are willing to give their all for others. We must keep their stories alive.
The real purpose of Memorial Day is to remember the sacrifices of those men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. The origins of this holiday stretch back to the years following the Civil War when local townspeople would plant flowers and decorate the graves of soldiers who had died in those battles. Ultimately, the U.S. government standardized the date, and, over the years, the tradition expanded to honor soldiers lost in subsequent wars. Memorial Day is not just about the freedom we’ve been given but about the high, high price it has been bought at. It is a day to stop, survey the beauty, and recognize the cost.
This weekend, as we all enjoy time with family and friends, let’s take a few minutes to remember the sacrifices that make it possible for us to enjoy our freedoms. Bring your children to a Memorial Day parade. Visit a war memorial. Read the names on the plaque and think of the families that were forever changed by the loss of that individual. It’s important that we remember why we have a Memorial Day holiday and honor those who fought for our freedom and who, by their sacrifice, have earned our eternal gratitude.
Continue their legacy by telling your children what and why Monday is a day off work. Savor the time you have as a family and do something together to serve. Lay wreaths on graves. Pray together for those grieving. Share about the fallen. Find a way to remember the day for what it is and to honor those who have paid the ultimate cost.