So we find ourselves on Memorial Day. No big topics today. No debate over who is right and who is wrong on the political scales. Instead, a simple recognition of soldiers on one of the few days that are dedicated to them. You know, oddly enough, when I was a new soldier, I saw Memorial Day as just another chance for a 4-day weekend courtesy of the US government. Ah, so young and dumb… you know the rest. But once I learned the meaning of Memorial Day, it became a holiday that I cherished and honored each year. And now here I am, for the first Memorial Day as a person who runs a website. And I am so glad that this gives me the opportunity to offer at least some form of tribute to those fallen heroes that provided me the ability to voice my dissent today.
For anyone who doesn’t know the purpose of Memorial Day in the United States, allow me to fill in the blanks for you. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time.
Memorial Day for me is a time to honor fallen brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. It is not a day for political partisanship, or debating the pros and cons of the United States military or its mission throughout the world.
Whether in the trenches of World War I, the beaches of World War II, the Jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Korea, or the deserts of the middle east, many a fine American soldier has gone forth and laid down his or her life in service to the country. Let us not forget those who we lost during times of conflict and times of declared peace, in missions throughout the world. Today is a day for remembrance. If I could, I would like to share a poem that I read several years ago that has always stuck with me. Written by a soldier, Roger Robicheau, in 2001:
What Heroes Gave
Each donned their uniform to be
Defenders of our liberty
Their mission sure, their spirits bright
Guard freedom’s home, be brave to fight
One final day each faced their call
Each gave their best enduring all
We’ll never know what they went through
But know they loved this country true
Deep down inside we should all feel
What heroes gave, their cost so real
We must stay thankful, grateful of
The gift of freedom through their love
Their loved ones bore the gravest pain
What we can’t know, some now sustain
To God I pray their pain will cease
And each will find long-lasting peace
Remember this from year to year
What heroes gave – shan’t disappear
We’ll never let their special day
Their time for honor slip away
These brave fought for a nation free
If not for them, where would we be?
So take a moment today and thank the veterans that you know for what they gave to their country. Take a moment today to remember those who are no longer here to thank. We take for granted the ability to come together on this blog, discuss our opinions, and question not only those who represent us, but the very government that we live under. We live in the greatest country on earth, with freedoms that other nations simply do not have. And all of these things we owe to those brave men and women who gave all of themselves so that we may continue to live free. No matter where we all fall politically or in terms of our philosophy, we all owe a great deal to those who sacrifice in service to the country.
On a more personal note. Today is a day for me to remember my brothers, who would be miffed that I even take a moment to mourn them. Time has marched on. Days continue to pass and I have moved on and did the things we all promised one another we would do. Never hang a head, never regret, and take advantage of what the ultimate sacrifice would provide for those who remain.
But I don’t forget. I won’t forget. I miss you and I love you, brothers. Especially you Marty, Tom, RanMan, and Vice. I hope you have found the peace that you fought so hard to ensure others would enjoy.
Thank you to all of those veterans, who give so much of themselves, not for money or fame or glory, but for duty, honor, and country. You have my eternal gratitude, respect, and support.
Now everyone go enjoy Memorial Day with your families. That is what all of these fallen heroes sacrificed for.