Saluting America’s Heroes
On May 27, 2013, Americans across the nation will pause to remember the countless men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation. To many, Memorial Day only represents a day off work and is celebrated as the official start of summer. But it is important to remember that Memorial Day has a meaning much deeper than barbeque cookouts and spending time at the pool.
Memorial Day celebrates our American heritage by remembering those who sacrificed their very lives to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy today. On this final Monday in May, Americans will gather together to honor America’s fallen heroes at cemeteries around the country where buglers can be heard playing taps, a solemn song of remembrance for those who died serving our country. Others will participate in parades and lay wreaths against the graves of their loved ones. However you choose to celebrate this day of remembrance that dates back to the American Civil War, keep in mind the importance of honoring those who bravely died in combat.
We must remember that freedom is not free; it has come at a high cost. Many have sacrificed precious time with family, are unable to enjoy the everyday conveniences of civilian life and live in foreign lands far away from home. This is no small price to pay, but it is necessary to ensure domestic tranquility for generations to come.
President Ronald Reagan, whose way with words earned him the title, “The Great Communicator,” experienced great difficulty in expressing the boundless depths of appreciation owed to our nation’s military. In a May 31, 1982 speech given at Arlington National Cemetery, Reagan noted Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as he stood among the graves of the fallen. He said, “Lincoln’s remarks commemorating those who gave their ‘last full measure of devotion’ were long remembered. But since that moment at Gettysburg, few other such addresses have become part of our national heritage — not because of the inadequacy of the speakers, but because of the inadequacy of words.”
There simply are no words to adequately convey our deep gratitude for the men and women who don the uniform of the United States Military and put their lives on the line for their fellow countrymen. As nations rise against nations and conflicts threaten our peace, we must remain vigilant never to forget those who willingly gave their lives to secure democracy and freedom. The hope of freedom that America embodies would not be possible without the code of honor, duty and respect that our soldiers exhibit on a daily basis.
In the words of Charles M. Province (U.S. Army Veteran and founder and president of the George S. Patton, Jr. Historical Society):
“It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the solider, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to demonstate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial;
And it is the soldier – who salutes the flag,
Who serves the flag, and
Whose coffin is draped by the flag…..”
This Memorial Day, let’s remember to pause and pay tribute to the countless men and women who have given their lives in defense of the red, white and blue. Old Glory waves freely today as a symbol of hope and a ray of light for all nations. While celebrating with family and friends, take a moment to explain the significance of this holiday and share stories of American patriotism. We are forever indebted to our nation’s active and former military members for preserving the rich legacy of freedom for future generations.
To our nation’s military serving at home and abroad and those who battled for freedom on the beaches of Normandy to the desert sands of Afghanistan and all other wars in between – we salute you.