In our last post, Good Moral Compasses suggested that losing tradition devastates any culture and civilization. One such tradition losing its meaning is Memorial Day because neither the rationale nor the purpose has been taught in detail for numerous years. Even older individuals who should know better have forgotten the sacrifice men and women have given to the country with their lives, so all could live in freedom.
Those who have forgotten the sacrifices of others or do not even think about them have changed Memorial Day into something entirely different than first intended. The prevailing thought about Memorial Day is that it is the unofficial beginning of summer and a three-day weekend. Indeed, it is good for the nation and culture to communally take time off from work and enjoy each other’s company. But Memorial Day needs to be grounded in more than just time off; it is a day initially established after the Civil War urging those left behind to honor their deceased by decorating the graves of those fallen in that horrific war.
Tragically, from the 1860s to the present, many men and women in uniform had their lives cut short because of the regular violence and aggression happening in all four corners of the world. Wars and conflicts have been a part of humanity, an unfortunate consequence of a fallen world.
When wars and skirmishes surfaced, countries’ governments called ordinary men and women to defend their nations. A good portion of the men and women who gave their lives would never have thought their future would include being part of a group of everyday individuals conscribed to fight a war they did not start or instigate. Their duty and honor called them to serve and ultimately to surrender their greatest gift to all of us, their own mortal lives.
These men and women should be honored and, hopefully, never forgotten. They were part of something greater than themselves, a group of courageous individuals who knew that evil is so powerful that to defeat it sometimes demands the gift of mortal life itself. Our gratitude and prayers should not be overlooked this weekend for those who have protected our liberty and those who will defend it in the future. It is a liberty that, first and foremost, gives us an unimpeded path in this country to do as we please and even practice our faith as we see fit. What a great gift!
The gift these heroic individuals gave all of us is meant to be enjoyed, but not without thanks. Life does go on, but it should never be taken for granted. The fragility of human life is apparent when reflecting on the sacrifice of our past defenders whose lives were ended so prematurely. If anything, Memorial Day should remind a self-absorbed society that the freedom to do as one pleases has a price, and the spilled blood of others often paid that price during the nation’s wars.
We need to give those fallen heroes our respect and gratitude and, by doing so, learn what it means to be part of something greater than ourselves, for it will always be thus in a world where evil exists.