Stop for a moment
This coming Monday, May 29, 2023, Americans across the country will celebrate the brave servicemen and servicewomen who have died defending our country. You can almost smell the hot dogs burning and the smell of new frisbees in the air. It is the un-official start of summer and so we will gather with friends and family to jump in the pool, hold BBQ’s, watch parades and eat like pigs. The problem is that none of that sounds as solemn as it probably should be.
At some point, we should stop and remember to honor those who died in service to our country; those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
As a homeschool family it is perhaps a little easier. We already do weird stuff like holding service at home on September 11th. We will stop on Monday and not just think about those sacrifices, but remember the families of those men and women who also paid that price in the catastrophic loss of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.
Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day." In 1869, the head of an organization of Union veterans, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, established Decoration Day as a way for the nation to honor the graves of those who died in the Civil War with flowers, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The sting of the war was pretty fresh then and the holiday itself tore open new wounds. My family had many, many men on both sides of that war and our losses were considerable.
The first real observation was held at Arlington National Cemetery for a crowd of about 5,000 in 1868.
In 1966, almost exactly 100 years later, President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York the official "birthplace" of the holiday to help clarify the location for those that had argued as to where the holiday really began.
In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday, placing it as the last Monday in May. The purpose of the holiday was expanded to honor all those who died in American wars.
This weekend I pray that you all find time to temporarily let go of the plow, to find time for the family and to stop, at least for a few moments on Monday to consider the sacrifices of those who never came home.
In this tumultuous time of America’s history, may we remember those that gave their all and in that remembrance find some bravery, some passion, some drive and some direction to set things right again here on our own soil in this coming year.