Today is Memorial Day. For most of us, it’s the kick off of summer. The banks are closed and the mail won’t run. Lots of folks have headed out of town to the beach or the lake. Many people will be grilling hamburgers in their backyards. Americans will take this day to enjoy what it means to live in the United States of America.
We can take the day off. We have that right. We can travel anywhere we want. We can wear whatever we want to whatever place we are going. We can say whatever we want when we arrive. We can criticize our government. We can marry whomever we please and divorce them, for that matter. We can worship whomever we want, in whatever way we want.
We have more freedoms in this great land than most any other place on the planet. We are so accustomed to them, that we often take them for granted. Memorial Day is a day to remember that our freedom comes with a heavy price tag.
Unlike Veteran’s Day, which is set aside to honor all of those who have served, Memorial Day was set aside to honor those who have died defending this great nation.
The beginnings of Memorial Day go back to 1868, three years after the Civil War when Major General John A. Logan declared that Declaration Day should be observed May 3oth. It was to be a day when those who died in the war were to be remembered with flowers on their graves. The story goes that May was chosen because there were so many flowers already in bloom.
Many different types of ceremonies took place all over the North and South who still weren’t very united at the time. There is a story that in Mississippi, near the Battlefield of Shiloh, there were women putting flowers on Confederate graves and they were so disturbed by the bare graves of the Union soldiers, that they placed flowers on their graves as well. It seems at least a small amount of healing had begun.
The ceremonies went on for many years in various areas with various differences until after World War 1. After that war, the day was expanded to include all Americans who had died in wars. It was made a national holiday by Congress in 1971.
So, as we take this day to enjoy everything that we get to enjoy about being Americans, let’s take a moment to remember those who fought and died to bring us where we are today. Let’s thank God for their service. Let’s thank God for their sacrifice. Let’s thank God for His hand in shaping this great nation. Let us remember, Ronald Reagan’s quote, “If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
May we never forget.
Have an awesome day!