Memorial Day, A day, the last Monday in May (originally May 30th), on which those who died in active military service are remembered.
I wonder how many people have no clue what Memorial Day even means. How many people plan their BBQ’s, camping trips, and get togethers with nothing more on their mind than a cold beer and some laughs with a few friends.
It hurts my heart to think of all the men and women who gave their lives so that we could be free, all the families who lost their son, daughter, mother, father, aunt, or uncle. I can’t fathom the feeling of seeing someone walking to my front door in full uniform to tell me the one I love will no longer return to me. Tears stream from my eyes just thinking about it and my heart is just heavy with grief for all those who’s loved ones where taken so unkindly from them.
So today, for those of you who just simply may not know, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and a day of mourning, a day to honor our fallen, to celebrate their lives, their courage, and their love for America. Memorial Day is not just a holiday; it’s not just a day to gather our friends and family and BBQ or go camping, in fact it’s not a holiday at all, it is a day of remembrance.
Slowly we are seeing traditional observance of Memorial Day disappear. America seems to have forgotten our traditions that make us who we are. We have pulled away from so many customs and traditions that it has become the new definition of who we are. No longer a nation built on God which at one time was our foundation, no longer a nation of the free, but a free nation lacking morals, integrity, and values. A nation that has taken for granted its freedoms, that’s allowed the foundation to crumble and that has lost sight of who we are.
How many people actually even know what the traditional observance of Memorial Day is? How many graves of our fallen hero’s do you think sit’s forgotten? How many people do you think actually fly their flags or even know the etiquette to do so?
In case you don’t know let me help you out a bit.
On Memorial Day we remember our family, our neighbors, our friends, our ancestors, those we never even knew, for giving the ultimate sacrifice, for standing in the gap, for fighting, for believing, for being our hero’s!
The way we would traditionally honor these men and women is by visiting the graves of our fallen heroes and placing flags and flowers on their graves. We would visit memorials, put in place to honor them. We would fly our flags at half-staff until noon, also flying our POW/MIA flags. We would participate in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3pm to pause and remember the meaning of the day and to play TAPs. As well we would renew a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen and aid our disabled veteran’s (us.memorialday.org, 1994-2009).
Today however our focus seems to be more on, what campsite we can get. How many friends we can gather for a BBQ, what selfish ways we can entertain ourselves. It’s sad that we have come so far away from who we were founded as a nation to be.
I ask you to just do one thing, to remember and to honor our fallen soldiers. To do one thing to show love, support and encouragement to those left behind. You do not have to know them to reach out to them.
I’ll leave you with a few poems that touched my heart ….May God bless each and every one of you reading this.
MEMORIAL DAY, 2007
FOR OUR TROOPS (both past and present)
Though I don’t know your name
And I have never seen your face
I shed tears for you.
Though my memories don’t contain a time
We shared together
I miss you.
Though we are not related
You are in my thoughts.
When I’m eating, or taking a shower, or doing housework,
I think of you, knowing how much you wish you could be at home,
Your stomach full, doing mundane chores such as cleaning your house,
Clean from a fresh shower.
Though you are at terrible risk, and perhaps may not survive,
You are NEVER ALONE, and will always be alive
If only in our spirits, hopes and memories, our dreams for your future.
There are MILLIONS of people praying for you tonight
And throughout the day.
Praying for your safety and return as a whole person
In mind, body and spirit.
We are crying because we know. We know you are scared, and lonely.
And that you’d give anything to see your family, to hug you mother, father.
Your child, sister, brother, aunt, uncle.
To be showered with love and comfort,
Instead of sand and shrapnel.
We long for you too, with an ache so desperate as to make us insane.
To touch your face, see your smile; share your laughter and your tears.
We love you so much soldiers, you cannot know. You cannot fathom the swelling of pride in our chest as we think of you.
Of your courage and your sacrifice, the hope that you can come home soon.
And those that have returned, we have not forgotten you; you are in our prayers,
That you may recover from your experience and be healed.
No matter what anyone says, not matter the reason you are there,
You are a UNITED STATES SOLDIER, and you make us PROUD!!
Every day for that beautiful flag, for our great fortune to be Americans.
There are no politics, no scandals, no mistakes, NOTHING, which can diminish the sentiment we have for you.
And even as democracy permits free speech, as it should, which some may use to make judgments or cast aspersions,
Remember always, we know you’d rather be on the couch debating it with us than spending your days trying just to stay alive.
Let no “freedom of speech’ EVER make you doubt the American people’s faith in and love for you.
We are PROUD!
I’ve never met you, but I want you to know that I love you.
I’m praying for you.
I honor you.
I’m waiting for your return.
On this Memorial Day, 2007, and every day,
Please know that you are being thought of.
WE MISS YOU.
GOD BLESS YOU and keep you until the day we can celebrate face to face.
©Copyright 1981 by CDR Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret).
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.
I heard the sound of taps one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That taps had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.
And on that note…God bless America and God bless you! Xoxoxo TJ