Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Does Memorial Day Mean to You?

I asked myself this question on Monday and gave it some thought. According to Wikipedia, “Memorial Day is a United States Federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include casualties of any war or military action.” Although, this particular entry in Wikipedia is prefaced with, “The factual accuracy of this article is disputed,” I think this quick definition accurately describes the day in question.

Memorial Day should be a day of reflection; reflecting upon the country that we live in and the freedoms that are granted to us. Specifically, we are called to remember the blood that was spilled on the battlefields which allows us to continue the freedom we currently enjoy. I think of the American Revolution which was fought to establish this country allowing men of great restraint and idea to form a union that would be free of despotism, aristocracies, unfair taxation, etc. This alone is worth remembering because without these actions, these men could have easily established a system in which they gained personally. Instead, our leaders restrained themselves, looked to the future, and established the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. These historic documents enumerated specific rights and prevented one or more groups of men the ability to “rule” the people of this new country through a system of checks and balances. What a remarkable idea.

Mr. Franklin and Mr. Lueders are just two veterans that I get to share time with and listen to many of their courageous stories. I am proud and glad they served our country in times of war and peace. Without their services, and without the services of the other many men and women, our country might look differently and we might not enjoy the many freedoms we have today.

Throughout the 231 years since the establishment of our nation, many men and women have gone to battle and either returned home or lost their lives. These men proudly served their country and I am thankful for these men, what they stood for and their sacrifices. God bless our soldiers, their families and other loved ones who generously shared and are sharing their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, fathers and mothers for the protection of our freedom in the United States of America.

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