It’s a new holiday – a three-day holiday. “Memorial Day weekend” has replaced “Memorial Day.” It is the weekend that kicks off summertime vacations and summertime fun.
Swimming and barbeques have replaced a time to remember those who died in the pursuit to maintain national freedom. How ironic it is that the very people who have preserved freedom in the United States, even the very freedom to celebrate Memorial Day as each person wants, receive little in return for their sacrifice? But who wants to dwell on the past when there is something more fun to do?
On the coast of Normandy, President Bush promised Monday that Americans would never forget those who had fallen in past wars, September 11 and those who fought in Afghanistan.
And Americans won’t forget. They won’t forget because of the sacrifice of these soldiers that there is a three-day weekend. No work. No school. Just time for rest and relaxation.
After a moment of silence and a visit to the cemetery, most people headed to the beach or grabbed a seat by the pool. The fire was lit, and the barbeque began. Family and friends gathered but little or no time was spent on the memories of veterans.
Throughout history, Americans have decorated graves, written songs and planned parades to honor those servicemen who died. In 1971, Congress officially declared “Memorial Day” a national holiday to honor these men.
And honor is what these servicemen deserve. They risked their lives, their opportunity to raise children, their chance to continue education, all because of their love for the United States and for her citizens. They fought so others would have these opportunities.
Their service is what makes the United States “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
It is time to give gratitude. As Flag Day and the Fourth of July approach, show appreciation. These patriotic holidays are more than hamburgers and watermelon; they celebrate the people who created and maintained the liberty now enjoyed.