May 28, 2012
Hot dogs, chips, pop, beer and the pool opens! Wahoo! It’s Memorial Day, a three-day weekend. Time for the first sunburn of the summer season.
Out of 365 days each year, we set aside one day to remember the fallen. We don’t know their faces, or their stories. We don’t know their names. We don’t know what their last moments or thoughts were. We only know that they paid the ultimate sacrifice.
They took an oath, donned a uniform and were prepared to fight for the rights of millions of people that they didn’t know. They stood tall and embraced the greatest ideals of being an American. They believed in honor. They served with honor. They met untold challenges and faced down formidable odds. They held, “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among those are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Yes, this was part of the Declaration of Independence, which we celebrate on July 4th, but these ideals are those for which we devote ourselves and for which our men and women in uniform fight and die for.
Freedom has been purchased for each of us, by every generation since before the United States of America was formed. Each generation is called to affirm those values and freedoms we hold dear. Among those freedoms is to speak out in
protest when one’s conscience dictates that we do so. We are free to embrace any religion, creed or idea. We are free to worship and we are free to refrain from worshipping. We are free to elect those we choose for public office and we are free to vote them out of office. We can see, think and be anything we choose. This is all because of those who have gone before; those that shouldered America’s burdens and walked toward the challenges of unknown dangers. Memorial Day is to remember those who served, those who came back and those who gave the most precious gift they had – they gave themselves in service to each of us.
Yes, I will enjoy the fun that is Memorial Day. I will also remember and I will be thankful. I am humbled that others gave their lives that I might sleep soundly, awaken with the joy of another day and that I am free to be whomever my dreams, hopes and aspirations allow me to be.
It is good. It is right. We must never forget. Happy Memorial Day.
Julie Elseroad can be reached by phone at (301) 355-6578