Today, the country celebrates Memorial Day. For many, this is another BBQ-and-Beer holiday, a day to be spent enjoying the company of friends and family, grilling burgers, watching basketball and enjoying the day off of work. But there is more to this day than a break from the daily grind, and there is more to think about than whether or not the Nuggets can tie up the series tonight.
Memorial Day was instituted in 1868 as a day to honor those who died in the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers and other adornments, something nearly every American was able to do, because in nearly every city and town there lay at least a few bodies of those fallen during the five-year war. Everyone knew someone who had died, everyone knew someone who had been left fatherless or widowed. And in acknowledgment of this painful fact, the original order for this day included this particularly poignant statement:
Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation’s gratitude—the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.
So it is not only a day to remember those who have fallen in defense of our country and our freedom, but also to remember those they left behind. We not only owe those who we have lost our fondness and gratitude, but we owe their families our support and affirmation. So on this day, as you enjoy the company of those you love, remember those who cannot do the same, because those whom they love have given their lives for this great nation. Honor the fallen, but remember those still struggling to stand. And if you don’t know someone personally who is in that position, then perhaps give a little to a charity that will.