Memorial Day. That solemn day of the year when we, as a Nation, pause to remember, mourn, and honor those men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice on our behalf. More precisely, it is a day when we should be reflecting on those who have made that sacrifice. Too often, we do not, except in small measure.
Memorial Day used to be a day when businesses closed. Towns held parades often ending at the local war memorial, cemetery, or sometimes the county courthouse, where speeches and prayers were offered up on behalf of the fallen and their survivors. Local civic organizations, veterans’ organizations, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, took time to clean the gravesites and plant flowers or flags to honor the casualties of our wars.
And yet, while many Americans use the long weekend as a time to take the family to the beach or to the lake, or to hold a neighborhood barbeque, across this great nation, in towns small and large, are those who have not forgotten. Where ceremonies large and small, from a few hundred citizens to many thousands, gather together, as Civil War General John A. Logan proclaimed, “To renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”
These Gold Star Families, as they have become known, were honored, and their loved ones memorialized this past week at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, by Colonel Scott Brower, Commander of the 5th Special Forces Group, one of this nation’s most elite fighting forces. In addressing those in attendance, he said, “Today, we take time to remember…We remember those that have gone before us… We share in the memory of our fallen, but rejoice and share your pride in all the goodness that they, the fallen, have created…” And as a way of historical perspective, that we must never forget, the ceremony was held on Gabriel Field, named in honor of a 5th Special Forces Group soldier killed in Vietnam almost 50 years ago.
This Nation, our Nation, owes its aspirations and greatness to all those who came before us, who bore the burden of battle, made the ultimate sacrifice and, in doing so, created all this goodness. Whether you celebrate by attending a Memorial Day service or whether you watch the wonderful and very moving Memorial Day ceremony broadcast from the nation’s capitol , please take a moment on Monday to honor all of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who have made all this possible.
-Courtesy of American Legion Post 160