Memorial Day means more than just a barbecuePosted by Patricia Forbes on May 25, 2015
While cooking our hamburgers and sitting by the pool it’s easy to forget why we have an annual three-day weekend leading up to Memorial Day. In recent years, it seems like the history and meaning of Memorial Day has been slowly fading into a meaningless tradition of just a couple of days off, accompanied by relatives who only live close by coming over to your house to cook and drink beer on the lawn chairs. But this holiday means so much more and for some it is not a joyous occasion but a solemn and emotional few days of peace.
Memorial Day is the day we remember and thank the men and women who died serving in the American armed forces. Originally known as Decoration Day, which started after the Civil War to honor the Confederate soldiers who were killed in battle, the name changed and encompassed all fallen American soldiers officially in 1967. Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act in 1968 and Memorial Day was forever cemented in our American history as being the last Monday in May. This insured three-day weekend could effectively bring about the solemn weekend in a joyous summer while at the same time making serious reflections on our lost soldiers.
For our veterans who know well the sacrifices made in the wars they fought, they keep Memorial Day close to their hearts as a time to honor and remember their friends and sometimes family they have lost. For Retired Staff Sgt. Luke Murphy, “Veteran’s day is easy. Fourth of July, a piece of cake. But Memorial Day, that’s a tough one.” He tells CNN.
“When soldiers die, they don’t just roll over and quit like in the movies. They fight like hell. They do whatever they can to stay alive — sometimes that’s their hardest fight. And sometimes they lose. The biggest loser is the family, though. I feel terrible for their parents, their wives, girlfriends or kids. I think about how much it hurts them on a daily basis. They’re still suffering, and it’s never going to end.”
However Sgt. Luke Murphy feels that some non-family members and non-veterans could care less about Memorial Day, that they are “too self-absorbed”. And unfortunately he is right. There are many people who hate those who serve the military, articles upon articles that attack the military and it showed openly when universities across the nation censored ‘American Sniper’ because some felt offended by his military activism, and others felt offended due to religion.
Luke Murphy believes, “If they really wanted to show respect for veterans, and the price they paid, they’d attend a service to hear somebody speak. If they felt moved, maybe they’d go to a website like Homes for Our Troops and make a donation. Or find a nonprofit that takes care of the fallen service members’ families, like Gold Star organizations. It’s not fun to think about, but people ought to think about it anyway.”
It’s important to remember the sacrifices that men and women make on Memorial Day and the sacrifices they will make in the future that does secure our American freedom and protect our sovereignty. If you see a soldier, don’t neglect them, shake their hand, hug them and support them. We need them, we should remember them, and they also need us.
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