Guest Editorial: To Remember and to Honor
To Remember and to Honor
What comes to your mind when I name the last Monday in May? In all honesty, I would not have been able to name the holiday on that day. I walk in the parade every year. I listen to the taps. I lay flowers on the graves marked with flags. How often have I really honored our service men and women, though? Has my heart been truly humbled and thankful?
As I researched and read the meaning and history behind Memorial Day, I gained a deeper understanding of this under-appreciated holiday. Now I realize what Memorial Day is: a time for citizens of the United States to remember and honor those who sacrificially served our nation and to pledge, in the eloquent words of Abraham Lincoln, “that these dead shall not have died in vain.”
Next year, when we start at the park, I will consciously still my heart. Just like every other year, I’ll pick up flowers, stems wrapped in aluminum foil, and join in the parade up to the cemetery. Unlike other years, I will be mindful as taps are played. I will use the silence to commemorate the service of so many veterans. And as the long list of those who served — and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice — is read, I will thank God for their willing sacrifices. I’ll place flowers on the graves marked with flags, knowing that in doing so, I am honoring those who served our country.
All of these are rituals I’ve done for years. Now, however, I will truly honor their sacrifices. I will still my heart in gratitude, remembrance, and honor. Furthermore, I will ensure that Memorial Day is a reminder to myself to fight for the America so many veterans died for, and to hold tightly to the freedoms they preserved. This is why we, as citizens of the United States, pause on the last Monday in May: to remember and to honor our brave veterans and the freedoms they died for.