Monday May 27 2013 is the day we celebrate Memorial Day. Most will see it as a day for barbeques and the first three day weekend of this year’s summer. Others more fortunate will see it as the day to move into the summer rental in the Hamptons. There are others who appear to be fewer and fewer each year who will remember Memorial Day for which it stands for. A day to honor those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to make and keep our country hence the world as free as it is today.
Most don’t know the history of Memorial Day other than post card memories of past barbeques and parties. The first recorded observance, a few years after the Civil War was in 1868. Issued under general order #11 flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. They did not distinguish between North and South, both died fighting for what they believed was a righteous cause and both deserved to be honored. At this time it was referred to as Decoration Day as the day to decorate the graves of fallen heroes.
New York State in 1873 more patriotic and less liberal back then was the first state to recognize the holiday. It was after the devastating losses during World War One (The War to end all Wars) that the honor was extended to all Americans that lost their lives fighting in any war. It wasn’t until 1971 under the National Holiday Act was it made a three day weekend and an official day off.
It is this day we honor those we have asked to defend our freedom no matter what your opinion of the mission or war they were tasked with. Our boys are trained to fight and it is our responsibility as citizens to make sure all conflicts we ask them to serve in are just. They are not the world’s police or relief agency. We pay for the UN and others for that job. Our military is trained and equipped to fight and win. Sometimes that means some will die, and it is only just we remember those we asked to do the job be remembered.
So how should we observe Memorial Day? It certainly is not as hard as what we ask our military to do. Fly your flag at half mast until noon if it is possible. Just make sure to display it as a tribute to those who have fallen. At 3:00 PM local time take a minute out of your day and in your own way remember those we have asked to defend our way of life by silence or listening to Taps. It is the least we can do.
Heroes don’t die they are just forgotten. So take time out to remember our latest fallen heroes, those that lost their lives in Benghazi. Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, they may have been abandoned but let us not forget them because we asked them serve. They are owed the truth if only to prevent Americans being abandoned for political expediency ever again.