This Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer and that means picnics, trips to the lake, and family get-togethers. Families across the country will scoot out of work early in order to enjoy the long weekend. Backyard BBQs, lounging in lawn chairs, and watching the kids frolic in the sprinklers will fill the wonderful hours. Without a doubt, many of us look forward to Memorial Day weekend as it is the first holiday of the summer season.
This weekend is also the time for us to make a trip to the many national cemeteries dotted across this great land. A good many folks will go to the Memorial Day dedication at the Leavenworth National Cemetery to listen to the guest speakers and view the beautiful grounds. It’s always a very humbling and somber experience to walk amongst the gentle rolling hills of the cemetery while taking in rows upon rows of grave markers dotted along the landscape. Volunteers will have carefully placed American flags at each gravesite and the Stars & Stripes was gently wave in the hot summer breeze.
Others will get into their cars and RV’s and travel the many roadways of this great land destined for a well-earned vacation seeking the beauty of our national and state parks. Vacationers will hit the hiking the trails, launch the boat on the lake, and cast a line in the many streams and rivers this great land provides.
But as we get together and enjoy each other’s company and the beauty of our great country, we should take some time to remember the reason for holiday in the first place. After all, it is a weekend to remember and memorialize the fallen. It’s a time to reflect on the lives of the millions of men and women who died in service of our country. Certainly, it is a weekend to remember the men and women who died over the past 200 years and those that gave the ultimate sacrifice just this past week.
Along with remembering, we should take the time to teach and to talk about why these men and women laid down their lives so that we can live free. We should make sure our young people truly understand this nation’s history and why we have fought so fiercely to defend and preserve it. I believe is vitally important for all of us, particularly our young people, to know from where we came so to better understand where we are going.
History is a great teacher and mentor. I have found sitting down with my children and explain the true history of our country and the battles that were waged in defense of it has proven to be extremely beneficial in their lives. Insuring that our young people truly understand the meaning of our holidays, such as Memorial Day, is a responsibility we all bear. By doing so, we provide clarity and understanding to the true meaning for the holiday rather than it being simply remembered as just another three-day weekend, end of the school year or the beginning of summer vacation.
Most importantly we must never forget that the freedoms we enjoy this weekend and throughout the year as citizens of this unbelievably great country were provided to us by the men and women who paid for it with their lives. Our great warrior stood post in far-a-way lands, assaulted enemy machinegun nests, returned fire from our great battleships, flew perilous missions over enemy territories all while we were sleeping under the quilt of security and freedom of which they provided.
My fellow Americans, please enjoy the festivities, hug your loved ones, and please don’t forget to put memorial into your Memorial Day.
Viper One Six – Out