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Memorial Day –
A Day of Remembrance for Those Who Have Made America Great
Frankly Speaking By Frank Jordan
Published in “The Vindicator” Newspaper on May 24, 2008
The New Testament tells us that there is no greater love than to give your life for another. Our fallen protectors have demonstrated that love by giving their lives for not just those they know, but the millions they did not know, and that is what Memorial Day is in fact all about – unselfish love of country and love of fellow-man.
Unfortunately, that true meaning of Memorial Day has been lost to too many Americans, especially our younger generations who are no longer taught in depth of the sacrifices of those who have fought the wars that protect our shores and preserve our freedoms.
The emphasis is now to tell our youth what is wrong with America, rather than what is right. Too often our true history of sacrifice and bravery by so many has been altered to emphasize instead those who abused those freedoms disgracefully when motivated by greed, prejudice and selfishness.
To many, Memorial Day is simply the beginning of the summer, or a much-needed three-day weekend with a barbeque or trip to the beach or lake with a six-pack picked up on the way. How did Memorial Day become a holiday? Memorial Day was first proclaimed by General John Logan and first observed on May 30, 1868; when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.
In addition to our military members who have died in service, in recent times we have also included fallen policemen and firemen, and others who have given their lives in the performance of their duties to our cities, states, nation and society in Memorial Day ceremonies.
Those men and women who have defended our cities and nation have done so not for glory, honor, or fame, but have voluntarily placed themselves in harm's way to protect our freedom and in that service have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The forerunner of Memorial Day was born on November 19, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln came to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to help dedicate a new national cemetery to the brave soldiers who died in the battle. Inspirational excerpts of that great speech include,
"We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have
come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who
here gave their lives that that nation might live. … It is for us the living,
rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus so nobly advanced. … that we here highly resolve that these dead shall
not have died in vain - that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of
freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth."
As the kin of a fallen soldier once proclaimed, “Each loved his life as much as we love ours. Each had a place in the world, a family waiting and friends to see again. They thought of the future just as we do, with plans and hopes for a long life. But they left it all behind when they went to war, and parted with it forever when they died so that you and I might enjoy freedom today.”
The danger in not remembering the sacrifices made by these men and women is that as a community and a nation we may forget that the price of freedom is never cheap and is paid for with the blood of those who fight for and preserve our way of life.
Colonel Lewis Herndon was a senior officer in the Battle of the Bulge in which more U.S. Soldiers were lost than any other battle in World War II, including most of those in his command. As the father of my closest childhood friend, Bob Herndon, the “Colonel” told us as young boys to, ”Never take your freedom for granted or your freedom will be taken from you by those who don’t!”
Bob later became Brigadier General Robert Herndon after serving in Special Forces in the Army and the Colonel’s words about “freedom” became ever more meaningful to me as my son Jason served as a career officer in Air Force Intelligence throughout the world.
On this Memorial day, set aside time for you, your family and friends to honor and remember those who have given their lives for you because, as Robert Orr so beautifully said,
"To live in the hearts of those you leave behind is never to die"
They gave their lives for you and me to preserve freedoms never to be taken for granted. The time is now to show we care and to honor their sacrifice not only this Memorial Day, but every day, so that their memory does indeed live in our hearts and thus these heroes truly will never die.
by an anonymous author
It is the
AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.
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