Saturday, May 23, 2015
Our nation is getting ready to enter the Memorial Day weekend. For some it's an opportunity for a quick mini-vacation out of town, a trip to Disneyland, a back yard barbecue or maybe just a beer fest and watching the car races.
For far too many, loved ones of those who've given their lives for this nation, Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen. Flowers and miniature flags will adorn the graves in a thousand cemeteries across our land. Families will stand or kneel by these graves and recall the moment when that military chaplain walked up to their door wearing a sad and forlorn face. They will recall the wracking sobs they thought would never end as they contemplated living their remaining years without someone who occupied such a large place in their lives. And they, above all, will know the depth of sacrifice offered for the love of country.
Memorial Day originated in the years immediately after the civil war. In Richmond, Virginia families began visiting the graves of their war dead, leaving flowers and flags. This tradition soon spread across the country as Americans chose to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Tens of thousands of our fallen lie in graves across the globe as they never returned home. Even today, Europeans walk the long rows of American graves in a dozen military cemeteries across peaceful green fields in small peaceful villages. They offer flowers and tears of gratitude for those who fought and died to secure their freedoms.
The flag ceremony on Memorial Day is perhaps the most elegant of all; as dawn spreads across our nation the flag is raised to its highest point, then lowered to half mast to honor our fallen warriors. Then, at noon, it is again raised to the top of the flag pole, thus conveying to our honored dead that, thanks to their sacrifice, America still breathes the invigorating air of freedom!
As always, I dedicate this blog to my military brothers and sisters who didn't make it home for a last look at what you were fighting for; I can still see your young faces in my dreams, frozen in time and in restful peace, knowing you gave your all. And I pray for peace and comfort for their families who bear the greatest burden.