me·mo·ri·al[ mə máwree əl ]commemorative: intended as a reminder of a person or event or as a celebration of somebody's life and work
U.S. holiday: a public holiday to commemorate soldiers who died in war.
OK. So. Today I may get a little weepy on you and I may even get a little political but it just has to be done.
Memorial Day is Monday. A day to remember the men and women who died while in service to the Armed Forces and to remember those who are serving for us today.
"Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow -
Honestly, though, do we really REMEMBER? Do we really take time to stop and remember what these men and women have done for us, so that we can live in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave? How many of us say a prayer for the families that served/serve in our armed forces, fighting with others to obtaining their freedom as well as fighting for ours, on Memorial Day? Do we take time to share with our children what this holiday truly stands for? Or do we take time off of work to eat, drink and be merry. Don't get me wrong, I love a good BBQ and time with my family too. But...
I guess, in my own guilt, I am confessing I do not really take time to show my support, the way I should, for those who have fought and died, lived and sacrificed, stood in the face of the enemy in courage in the wars of this world. I have complained about my own silly inconveniences, ["when will my husband be home from work to help me out?"] when wives and children of the military wait daily to hear from daddy, wondering if he will ever get to come home.
I have been deeply moved this week by images that keep rising up before me in preparation of this holiday. The flags on the graves in Arlington; mother's sitting at the foot of the grave of their child; wives receiving a folded flag honoring the sacrifice their husbands made; the children standing at attention, saluting during the funeral of their father or mother.
"No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends." -John 15:13
A simple article written last year called "The Big Picture: Memorial Day 2009" by Alan Taylor, the images overwhelmed me with a sense of how much courage it takes to be the parent, wife, husband or child of a person serving in the military. By God's Grace and strength unknown they keep living, remembering their loved ones who stood bravely in the face of the enemy just by signing up.
The Pioneer Woman is featuring a special photography assigment called "Coming Home". I have rejoiced over these precious photos, praising God for those who were able to wrap their arms around sons, husband, fathers, who came home safely. I have silently wept for those whose Coming Home was wrapped in the Flag of the United States of America.
The Tomb of the Unknowns or Unknown Soldier
"...a monument dedicated to American servicemen/women who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in the United States." (wikipedia)
Here, unknown soldiers are interred, the funerals of which were presided over by current presidents, are from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. This tomb is guarded by the Tomb Guard, considered one of the highest honors to serve. These very special guards "Walk the Mat" in a very meticulous format. "The Tomb of the Unknowns has been guarded continuously, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, since July 2, 1937. Inclement weather does not cause the watch to cease." Visit here to learn more about this prestigious responsibility that is taken very seriously by our military servicemen/women.
On a side note, I have to say I am dissappointed that our President has forsaken his charge, and opted to not attend the Memorial Day tradition of the Laying of the Wreath at the Tomb. But, I will never know what sacrifice it is for him and his family to live day-in and day-out in the office of President either. Moving on...
Friends, take time, with your loved ones this weekend, to remember what those who died serving our country with honor, as well as those who serve currently, have done for YOU and Your Family - they Fought/Fight for Freedom. Thank a soldier whenever you can. They need to know we stand with them! They live the life of the well-known Latin phrase used by the Marines "Semper Fidelis" Always Faithful!