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Memorial Day means its time to grill the meats, vegetables and head to the stores for big sales. Memorial Day means so much more than our family and friends gatherings and shopping trips. But what is it really?
Memorial Day and the weekend which marks time off for many and the beginning of summer and after school’s end, also means something more significant. Let’s not forget the men and women who fought and lost their lives for our country, America. The official holiday began in 1971 at the end of May when flowers would be blooming. Historians tell us this day for honoring the dead soldiers, the graves, dates back to Civil War times. That’s right back when it was known as Decoration Day, from the war in our country.
After WWI, this day became the day we honored the dead, wherever the war took place. As recent as 2003, the tally of dead is close to 7,000 men and women due to wars in other parts of the world. This number doesn’t come close to the 670,000 who died here in America, battling the war between the states and the fight for freedom of the slaves.
Iraq and Afghanistan, and the men and women who went there in defense of their freedom will be recognized. They represent America’s fortitude for the people who cannot defend themselves or find freedom in their own land. These men and women, often young, feel the need to defend the freedoms we take for granted every single hour of every single day.
The sales and barbeque parties have some meaning, uniting Americans in their celebration of freedom and hopes for the world beyond its borders.
Parents of the fallen think about their lost son or daughter, sometimes every hour of every day. Our celebration in honoring those dead may give them comfort, knowing we appreciate the service their young son or daughter gave for us. Music and words can give comfort as well, as they grieve.
The pain of such loss, many of us can never know; but our appreciation for their contributions on Memorial Day, may make it feel worthwhile for them.
The ‘Taps’ or tune which most people recognize as a tribute for the fallen or dead has come to be comforting in our most sorrowful moments. The tune provides us with release. Unbelievably, the 24 notes go back to the Civil War, sounded out in 1862 on a summer evening, giving recognition to the loss of lives.
Lost lives from war seems barbaric, yet freedom, does not reign around the world. Our veterans who made it home are the lucky ones; we should treat them as such and demand wars end. Peace.
When peace comes the brave men and women who defended our rights, the rights of others in the world who sought freedom, will have died for that final honor and forever be a part of that beautiful word called FREEDOM. Memorial Day means to celebrate in honoring along with the families, those who have suffered and lost more than us.
Opinion By Kim Troike