How Can We Ever Forget?
I only came to this realization of what I hope to achieve as editor of the Independent Parties site this past Monday, Memorial Day. Something about the occasion sparked a new fire within me. Now if I am going to share from my heart then I feel it means I must also be completely honest.
If someone were to ask me what I think of most when I hear the words “Memorial Day” I would have immediately said, “A day off work.” The next thing I would think of is sleeping in and the third thing I would think of is grilling out with family and friends. Can anyone relate?
Well my world has been enlightened. I have a 16-year-old son who belongs to a Civil Air Patrol Unit. In years past it was always optional for the cadets to attend a local Memorial Day service. He had no interest in participating and I never pushed it because, well, I already mentioned what first comes to my mind when I hear the words “Memorial Day.” I just wanted to enjoy my day off.
This year it was mandatory that the cadets attend. Do you know why? They mandated it because the turnout is always so low. If you really think about that, it’s kind of sad. I also came to discover when I attended this Memorial Day service that the turnout in general is pretty poor. It really bothered me. However, I had to first look within and realize that I had contributed year after year to this low attendance.
Well something happened during that Memorial service that has left me feeling ashamed for my lack of respect to pay tribute to those who have died for this country. However, with that shame I also have hope for new beginnings. I cannot imagine Memorial Day ever being anything else than paying tribute to the men and women who fought and died for my freedom…for your freedom.
The words that struck my heart during that service were, “How Can We Ever Forget?” How could I forget what this day is really about? Men and women have fought on our behalf so that we can enjoy the freedom of having a day off or grilling that burger. What is a day off, what is a cheeseburger in light of the courage, devotion and patriotism that men and women have given for this country?
One of the most touching parts of the service was when five symbols were placed at a makeshift burial site. The plaque on this site reads: “This burial site is a symbol of honor and tribute…dedicated to those who have devoted themselves to the highest traditions of the United States of America. Some sacrificing their lives. But all serving their country.”
It really doesn’t matter where we stand in politics, which party we believe in, whether or not we agree with our President, the direction we feel our country is going or whether we believe in peace or war…our soldiers deserve our highest honor and respect.
How can we ever forget?
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