Memorial Day 2020

“God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.”  (Daniel Webster)

The last Monday in May is the very special time set aside, each year, to remember, and pay solemn tribute to, the men and women in service to our nation who have indeed, bravely guarded and defended our liberty, and have perished fighting for freedom’s cause.  Nearly 1.2-million American service members have died fighting our nation’s wars, from the American Revolution to the present.  Each one, a tremendous loss to their loved ones, their communities, and to our nation, a nation that remains free due, in large measure, to their ultimate sacrifice.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and was first observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, and to honor the nation’s Civil War dead, by decorating their graves.  In 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May, where it has been observed ever since.

In the year 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day, at which time all Americans are asked to pause for one-minute at   3 PM (local time) to honor and respect all those who have died for our freedom. This was not instituted to in any way replace traditional Memorial Day ceremonies and activities, but is, instead, meant to be a shared moment of remembrance which is intended to connect all Americans, a unified connection opportunity which is  especially needed now, due to this year’s coronavirus epidemic, which has spread to, and so severely impacted, all corners of our great land.  Hopefully, this brief measure of Memorial Day tribute will, this year, serve to bring Americans in our seemingly divided nation, together for at least a few moments, to remember those who have given their all, for all of us, and their generations past.

Of significance this year, just two-weeks ago on May 7th, America commemorated the 75th Anniversary of V-E Day, the day in 1945 when the Allies accepted Nazi German’s unconditional surrender. War would continue with Japan, however, with that share of the global conflict not ending until August 15, 1945. For America, World War II had finally ended, and at great human cost.  A little over 400,000 American military members perished in the Second Word War, with another 670,000 wounded or missing in action. More recently, almost 7,000 Americans serving in uniform have perished in the War on Terror, which began, you’ll recall, following the 9/11 (2001) Attack on America and, unfortunately, that war continues.

Memorial Day is a call to remember all of those who have given their lives in support of American freedom. A time to honor their lives, their courage, their legacy, and their service. Our fallen men and women are the ultimate examples of sacrifice, valor, and patriotism. We remember them with gratitude and respect for the selfless service they provided to America.

Our nation is indebted forever to these brave military members.  Any day of the year, and any time of day, is the right time to give thanks for these very special Americans patriots.  But especially so on Memorial Day, the day set aside, nationally, to pause and remember the courageous service of our military fallen.  Please make a note to remember to join with your fellow countrymen in reverence, at 3 PM on Memorial Day, to cast aside all other thoughts of the moment, in order to concentrate on, and to pray for, the gratitude and the reverence we feel for those Americans who have served and perished in war.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” (Thomas Jefferson).  Those who have served and fallen have, indeed, paid freedom’s price in full.  May our deep appreciation for their selfless sacrifice, offered on our behalf,  never end.