Years ago, I heard someone correct someone else who said, “Happy Memorial Day.” There’s nothing happy about the day, they said. It’s about remembering service men and women who’ve died during conflicts.
That person wasn’t wrong. Memorial Day was created as a day set aside to decorate the graves of soldiers who died defending the U.S. during the most recent battle. When you dig around and read about the history of Memorial Day, it’s evolved from a quiet day of remembrance to a three-day weekend packed with parades, barbeques, and Memorial Day sales.
Check out the wording from the original declaration: “In this observance, no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.” In other words, the founders of Memorial Day left it up to us to decide how to remember fallen soldiers. There’s no single “right” way to do it.
The words, duty, honor, and selflessness are self-evident when we consider America’s Honored Dead. But I believe that on this Memorial Day, we should include the COVID-19 first responders who lost their life to the pandemic. Because, they too, embody the spirit of duty, honor, and selflessness in the service of America.
The message of the day is do our best to live our lives by the rules of those who died for us.
So, fly your flag. Explain to your children and grandchildren the real meaning of today. And never forget that our lives are possible only because of the duty, honor, and selflessness of those who gave everything to protect and defend this great country.
For me and my family, Memorial Day will be about togetherness and taking time to express our thanks — for our health, our safety and those who make our freedoms possible.
Helpful resources for veterans and their families
This list of websites helps veterans connect with former military units, find information about benefits and services, and stay up to date on military news. Tap or click for sites for veterans to reconnect, get services, and more.
Here’s a list of Memorial Day weekend shopping deals anyone can take advantage of. Tap or click here if you’re in a shopping mood.
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