Here’s A Thought for May 26

‘Lest we forget!’

Every spring we celebrate this holiday called “Memorial Day,” which traditionally marks the beginning of summer. Today is recognized as the day when all the summer events may officially commence. It is a day when families can congregate for a picnic or a barbecue; it is a day when used car dealers are expected to mark down all their prices; and it is a day when, weather permitting, small communities can provide its citizens with a parade to entertain both children and adults alike.

However, not all Americans today are celebrating this holiday with such spirited enthusiasm. Some families may not be holding that annual barbecue in the back yard. Some children may not be holding their fathers’ hand as the band marches past. And some mothers may still be staring at the flag, which flies at half-staff.

It is to these individuals whom we also should honor and remember this weekend by empathizing with their grief that a loved one may not be here to celebrate in these festivities. Let us take a moment out of the celebrations to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day, and the sacrifices that our military personnel make for each and every one of us.

It has been said that one must die so that others may know the full value of life. We are all given only one life to live. It may end in an instant — an instant unfamiliar to one and all. Yet it is because of this certainty of death that we place such a high regard on human life. Yet the freedom to live life to its fullest has its costs as well.

That’s what the members of our nation’s armed forces do for us: they pick up the check so that the rest of us may enjoy the land in which we live. They fight for our freedom, for the freedom of their fellow human beings, and for the freedom granted to us by the founders of our nation. Every minute of every day, there is a soldier somewhere far from home, giving all he has to give for a much higher cause.

Likewise, there is always a veteran somewhere, with his fingertips on a war memorial, thanking a fallen soldier for saving his life years before. These brave soldiers, sailors, fliers and Marines died protecting their country and what it stands for. They died defending a way of life that they felt was worth dying for … for families, children, freedom, morality, values, and responsibility.

Historically, our nation has achieved many successes in battle, both domestic and abroad, fighting to protect humanity from oppression, tyranny, terror, and to uphold a common freedom. However, these victories did not come without their casualties.

We during this Memorial Day weekend, recognize the valiant efforts of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who put country before self and made their marks in history. Senator Dole once said: “We do not pay a tribute to war, rather, a tribute to the physical and moral courage that makes heroes out of ordinary men and women, that inspires Americans of every generation to lay down their lives for people they’ll never meet.”

During this Memorial Day observance; to feel the full effects of the sacrifices our soldiers have made for us, I ask all of you to take just one moment to silently gaze upon the graves in one of our city’s cemeteries. Please notice, each one of those small American flags represents not only that person’s service to the military, but also their service to each and every one of us. They gave all they had to give, may we in gratitude offer a prayer of thanksgiving to our Lord God for their sacrifice for our freedoms.

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