Thoughts by Chap: Memorial Day

Random thoughts to start a conversation. I look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to Like and Subscribe both here and on Youtube.

So, I was Thinking….

Most of us are familiar with the old adage, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” That saying is grossly untrue on two counts. First of all, soldiers do die, and some in combat. Service members, young and old, men and women, from every branch of military service, die defending our country and our way of life. They fight in popular and unpopular wars, in countries all over the world. They carry the American flag, and the ideals and values for which it stands, to every corner of the world. They don’t go for glory, or honor, or fame. They go because their duly elected officials, who represent the American people, including you and I, order them to place themselves in harm’s way. They sacrifice family, friends, and sometimes their lives, to serve our country. The New Testament records in the Gospel of John,  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Our fallen comrades have demonstrated that love, and that is what Memorial Day is all about.

The second misconception is “that old soldiers just fade away”. Our fallen comrades didn’t fade away. In most cases, they were simply forgotten. One reason for this is that the true meaning of Memorial Day has been lost by the majority of the American people. To most Americans, Memorial Day is simply one of the federal holidays that bracket the summer season. Memorial Day for them marks the beginning of the summer, the start of a family vacations, the first barbecue of the year, or a much-needed long weekend. For the shopping malls and department stores, Memorial Day is an excuse for one more spectacular sales event. Others confuse Memorial Day for Veterans Day or Armed Forces Day, and although it is highly appropriate to honor all our veterans, living and dead, and to recognize their immeasurable contributions to our country, that is not the purpose of today’s remembrance.

Memorial Day is an annual holiday to honor all Armed Services Personnel killed in wars in the defense and service of our country. It was originally called Decoration Day, and is traditionally marked by parades, memorial speeches, and the decoration of graves with flowers and flags. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, for the purpose of decorating the graves of American Civil War dead, and was observed on May 30, until 1971.

The forerunner of Memorial Day was born on November 19, 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln came to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to help dedicate a new national cemetery to the brave soldiers who died in the battle that serves as the turning point of the Civil War. With your permission, I would like to read a portion of his address:

“We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that the nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Ladies and gentlemen, it is fitting and proper that we gather here today to remember and honor those brave men and women who have given their lives that we might live in a free and prosperous United States of America. But in the same sense, it is impossible for us to do anything, or say anything, that can add to the honor that they so nobly earned. Rather, it is our solemn responsibility to remember them, and to give grateful thanks that when their nation called, they answered with their lives.

You have the ability to remember’ and celebrate the brave men and women that went before and fell. LEST WE FORGET.

Those are my Thoughts. What are yours? 

Disclaimer: All content, thoughts, and statements solely belong to the author and do not reflect any institution or organization with which the author is affiliated.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts by Chap: Memorial Day

  1. I consider it my duty to remember – always. For without their service, I would not enjoy the freedoms I have today.

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