I’ve been pondering what great words of wisdom, what great and soaring concepts, what verbal imagery I could present to you for this weekend. It would, of course, be centered around remembering those in our Armed Forces who have given their all, that “last, full measure”. But I couldn’t find the right idea to wrap a post around. And then it hit me.
This weekend, and especially Memorial Day itself, is not about me. It’s about remembering, it’s about paying tribute to those who have gone before. And in that line, what better way than to share the stories of those brave men and women from days past?
So I’ll give you some ideas where to look. You can visit an old friend of mine, Padre Steve Dundas, a chaplain and outstanding historian, at http://padresteve.com/2013/05/25/remembering-why-we-keep-memorial-day/, and enjoy this and other posts he’s written, not just about Memorial Day, but also about the great battles and the people who fought in them. You can visit a more recent friend, GP Cox, at http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/, and follow the tales of his father and the company of heroes he fought with in the 11th Airborne Division in World War 2. Both of these gentlemen, Padre Steve and Mr. Cox, have many tales to tell, and are worth the visit.
But I’d ask one more thing of you. More and more, as time goes by, Memorial Day is
becoming more commercial, more festive. It’s a day (and a weekend) of vacation, of sales, of picnics and outings. And while those of our fighting folk who gave their lives, would welcome the fact that we are free to barbecue or travel or buy our brains out, the true meaning of this holiday is starting to slip from our grasp. As our much-feted (and deservedly so) veterans of the “Good Wars” like World War Two and Korea pass from this earth, and as our newest generation of veterans come home from wars they don’t like to talk about, we as a nation are forgetting “the reason for the season”, as the old saying goes.
So take a moment this weekend, and especially on Monday. Take a moment, and remember. For we here in the United States, and around the world, owe a great debt of gratitude to those veterans we have lost. We have, literally, been given the freedom in our lives by the sacrifice of the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. We owe them so much – we can spare a few moments to remember them.
To conclude, there is a large cemetery for the Allied war dead on the slopes of Garrison Hill in Kohima, India. Upon the memorial of the 2nd British Division in this cemetery, there is carved an epitaph that sums up my feelings far better than my poor words can. It says:
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, ‘For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”.