Memorial Day for many is nothing more than a three-day weekend. Few realize the reason why we have this holiday.
General John Logan, the Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 on May 5, 1868 stating that May 30th should be observed as Decoration Day. This day would be “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Decoration Day would become what we know as Memorial Day. Every person who has served knows someone who has lost their life in the service of their country. Heroes blood has stain the soil from the beaches of Normandy, to Okinawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sanh, La Drang Valley, Beirut, Grenada, Kuwait, the mountains of Afghanistan, Fallujah, Ramadi, and numerous other locations around the world.
Americans owes more than can ever be repaid to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Every year I make a visit to Arlington Cemetery to pay homage to those who lost their lives. But remembering those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom is the least we can do. We must make sure that their sacrifices were not in vain. America has always been a beacon of freedom in the world. In these chaotic days Americans must take a proactive stance to ensure that the freedoms so bravely fought for are secured for the next generation of Americans to enjoy. Enjoy, remember and celebrate this Memorial Day! This holiday has been paid forward for us by so many others and we must all do something to pay it forward for the next generation of Americans.
One hundred and fifty-three years ago, Abraham Lincoln went by train to Gettysburg for the dedication of the Cemetery and to honor those who lost their lives on that hallow ground. While Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has been called one of the greatest speeches of all times, the following words are words we should all remember.
“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” So on this Memorial Day enjoy the freedoms that we all have but do something to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our nation.