Technically or not, Memorial Day has become the start of summer for many open up the cabin and prepare it for the summer months ahead, the first camping trip of the year, a day on the lake, picnics and barbecues, and maybe a blockbuster movie.
Hopefully, the true meaning of Memorial Day is at the heart of these festivities and plans memories of our beloved lost ones.
It is a day to honor those who have died in service to our country, whether we know them personally or not.
Flags, flowers, parades, gun salutes, taps, and the reading of General Logan’s orders are a part of these memorial celebrations.
What do our children know about the meaning of Memorial Day, and how it began?
The Civil War claimed many lives. Graves of our fallen soldiers were laden with flowers in honor of our dear soldiers’ service and sacrifice. This was the beginning of the day, originally called Decoration Day. It has evolved over the years into a federal holiday to honor and pay tribute to those who have died in all wars.
My family attends our local community’s Memorial Day service each year. As the list of names of our local service men and women who have passed away is read, my eyes always fill with tears. When a man or woman serves our country in the military, they do so with the knowledge that their life could be lost in service. This is the truest of service.
Former Alabama Governor Bob Riley said, “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism.”
The day is also about world peace and the hope of it. Peace among countries, communities, people, and, maybe even, among family.
Our family shares in a barbecue picnic each Memorial Day. My favorite part of the day is sharing memories of our beloved who have passed away. There are many laughs and maybe some tears shared, but mainly memories.
This is Memorial Day. It is about memories. Our family bond is strengthened on special days as this.
May we continue to remember the importance of Memorial Day.
Early American poet Joseph Rodman Drake wrote the following line in his poem, “Defenders of New Orleans.”
“And they for their country die shall fill an honored grave; for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.”