"A veteran — whether active duty, discharged, retired, national guard, or reserve — is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America, for an amount of: up to and including their life." — Author Unknown
It's easy to become distracted from the spirit and meaning of Memorial Day holiday. Memorial Day marks a three-day weekend that, for many, announces the beginning of summer. Pools open. Schools close. Vacations begin. Retailers have sales; consumers shop. We barbecue, eat and drink. We enjoy friends and families. We appreciate being able to take a little time-out.
For many of us, it is a time to remember loved ones who have passed. We visit cemeteries, decorate graves, or find our own ways to remember and honor those we sorely miss.
Many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor and remember Americans who died fighting in any war.
Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May. It is a time when communities come together to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country. It seems the least we can do for those who have given everything to secure our freedoms and rights.
Perhaps one way to honor the memory of those who have given their lives to assure our freedom is to seek ways to become more informed and responsible citizens.
Wouldn't it be good if we could remember to thank veterans and those active in military service before they passed? And, wouldn't it be better if we didn't limit ourselves to Memorial Day and Veterans Day to express our gratitude?