I read several articles today on Memorial Day. Most of them claimed that the holiday has lost its meaning over the years. Towns that traditionally had parades no longer have them. The American flag, by etiquette displayed at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, is too infrequently displayed at all. Cemeteries once decorated with ornaments of respect are now vacant of even visitors.
I didn’t spend much time trying to figure out who these authors were talking about. I felt much like I do during many a Sunday sermon when you’re certain the preacher wrote his message just for you and kindly allowed the rest of the congregation to sit in on it. Who knows, some of them may have even suggested the message to lend a helping hand.
I’ve always understood the meaning of Memorial Day, but celebrated it more as the “unofficial beginning of summer.” I must say I was a bit more reflective about it today. When I look at Elliott and understand as clearly as I do the many opportunities he’ll have just by being an American, I can’t help but be grateful. Frankly, one day really isn’t enough to properly recognize and give thanks to the 1 million plus servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives to provide those opportunities.
I don’t need to look much further than the recent devastation in Myanmar and the lengths their military took to keep help OUT of the country to realize just how blessed we are. The blessing isn’t free though. The sacrifice of so many men and women who fought to create freedom for faces they’d never see – well that’s a heavy price.
I’ve committed today to thinking of Memorial Day as much more than the first summer picnic, as a day of more thanksgiving than celebration. I will also make sure Elliott always understands that the freedoms he has are far from free.I’ve added a couple of photos tonight that will help you see just the kind of freedom he enjoyed today.