Memorial Day ~ Honor, Respect, & Gratitude

Memorial Day’s meaning seems to vary between each & every citizen of this great nation, The United States of America. While it’s wonderful having a three day weekend to gather with family & friends, that’s not the sole reason for this holiday. I hope that everyone has taken or will take at least a moment of their time today to reflect upon the true reason for this holiday & the sacrifices made by courageous people throughout U.S. history that have given us the freedoms we enjoy or even, at times, take for granted.

The U. S. Department of Defense gives us a wonderful background on the origins, history, & traditions of Memorial Day on their website. The portion I have posted below is merely the beginning & I strongly encourage you to visit their website to read the rest of the article. I also suggest browsing the website whenever you have the opportunity in order to broaden your understanding of what the brave individuals of the U. S. Armed Services do for us each & every day.

     “On Memorial Day, men and women across the nation pause to remember America’s fallen soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of protecting American freedom.
Originally known as “Decoration Day,” Memorial Day came into existence just three years after the Civil War ended. Decoration Day was intended as a time to remember the soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War and more specifically, to honor their memory by decorating their graves.
On May 5, 1868, Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic declared the first Decoration Day to be held on May 30, 1868. As part of the day’s observances, flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
By the late 1800s, as the holiday grew in popularity and was observed by more states, Decoration Day had become better known as Memorial Day. But it wasn’t until the end of World War I that Memorial Day was opened to include fallen soldiers who fought in all U.S. wars.” (continued here)

Speaking for myself, there are three words that are etched into my heart on Memorial Day & always when it comes to defining my feelings about those brave individuals — past, present, & future — who serve in the U. S. military. Honor, Respect, & Gratitude. Our U. S. troops & their loved ones who have sacrificed so much — including the ultimate sacrifice — deserve, at the very least, for those three words to be taken to heart by all Americans. Those three words should be forever linked in the hearts & minds of every American citizen to the gifts that have been so bravely & selflessly bestowed upon us by each & every U. S. Soldier that has answered the call of duty throughout our nation’s history. The gifts of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. Love your freedom? Thank a soldier!

“The Soldier” – By Charles M. Province
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
If you can read this message thank a teacher,
If you are reading it in English of your own free will thank a soldier!
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves under the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
To all the brave men and women who have dedicated or given their lives
to protecting this country and its freedoms:
Thank you.

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