It is Memorial Day weekend, and as many other long holiday weekends, or even the holiday itself, the true meaning of the day is lost, the value of the sacrifice is instead turned to a recreational celebration. For instance, if you live in the mid-Atlantic states, it is the rush to the shore to kick off Summer. And of course the beach resorts have no issue with this.
As children, it is hard to relate to just what Memorial Day should mean to them, more than just a long weekend in Wildwood, or the countdown to the end of school. It has been a decade and a half since our nation was rocked by an event unthinkable by everyone around the world, and many of today’s teenagers do not have the emotional attachment that many of us adults have to September 11.
But Memorial Day has always been, and always will be about remembering our fallen heroes who died for our country.
As a young boy, my grandmother and aunt, would take me to the annual town parade which went through town, to a “triangle” intersection, that was home to the towns war memorial.
It was a somber event, because it was sad. We were remembering people who fought for our country, so that we could enjoy the things that we do today, including going to the shore or having picnics.
As everyone gathered around the triangle, a ceremony was held, and it was followed by the most touching display of remembrance I will ever see in my life, the “21 Gun Salute”.
I knew of only two people who served in the forces when I was a child, both my Uncle David and my Uncle Jim, and both are still alive today. But as I grew into adulthood, it became all too common to know people, family and friends, who had served in a war, were wounded, or even died in war.
And for that, I thank not only those that we remember this weekend, but those that are still here with us.
If I may, I would like to mention one new thing that I have done with this holiday weekend, and it is memorial in nature. My church a long time ago, took this weekend not only to recognize our fallen heroes, but also our loved ones who never served or had the opportunity to do so.
Memorial, it is about remembering. This weekend I remember a lot of people who have been in my life, in the military, in my family, and my friends who are no longer with us today.