Memorial Day is set aside for us to remember those who have died defending our great country. It was first proclaimed by General John Logan on May 5, 1868. The first Memorial Day was observed on May 30, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers at our own Arlington National Cemetery.
But do we need an official day to honor those precious souls who have defended our nation? Should our gratitude be set aside for just one day a year? Sadly, this is true for many Americans.
I can remember the early years of my childhood where anyone serving in the military was revered and appreciated for his contribution. We all wore the little poppy flower on our lapels to show our gratitude for those who gave unselfishly for our country. What a sight it was to sit in church and see everyone wearing these little poppy flowers. Later, we would attend the Memorial Day Parade and our war Veterans would be marching and everyone would wave their little American flag, clap and hail them as they marched by. The cheering would be deafening! Pride, patriotism and gratefulness swelled in our hearts as we cheered! Unfortunately, I have seen this dissipate throughout the years and it is ashame – in fact, it should be an embarassment to the American people! This reveals the general attitude of our country. This lack of gratitude is a blemish on the American flag and it stomps on the graves of the precious soldiers who fought, bled and died for what our flag represents.
Today’s soldiers who fight for this great nation have the same courage and vision as those who fought during our first wars in the Colonial wars! These soldiers do not have the privilege of having an opinion on the politics that put them into battle. They willingly place themselves in harm’s way because they believe that the United States is still the best country in the world. Our country was founded on biblical Christian principles and it is great today because of this foundation.
Unfortunately, America is moving further away from this precious foundation. Is it any wonder that our military no longer comes home to a hero’s welcome as they did yester year with ticker tape parades? Is it any wonder that Americans honor their war dead only once a year with no thought of them on the other 364 days? If your child was killed in action, wouldn’t you want your countrymen to appreciate what he did for them?
What do you do on Memorial Day? Do you use this holiday to spend time with the family and have a BBQ? Or, do you visit veterans at the nursing home? Have you taught your children why we celebrate this holiday? Have you taught them to honor those in the military who are yet still living? Why wait until they are dead to honor them? Honor them today with your gratefulness. Don’t be shy – show them by going up to them in the restaurant and thank them. Better yet, pay for their meal! My son, a Marine, has gone to Olive Garden twice and both times his meal was paid by a grateful citizen! Reach out – thank those in your family, those in your church and your community. Keep the gratitude moving and continue to honor those who gave themselves for our beloved United States.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.