Archive for May, 2012

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Memorial Day

May 24, 2012

 

Franklin Roosevelt, one week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor said, “Those who long enjoy such privileges that we enjoy forget in time that others have died to win them.” America is the greatest nation in the world. God has blessed us with great prosperity and protected us from much of the world chaos and violence. This weekend is a reminder that the freedom, prosperity, and peace we enjoy did not come without sacrifice.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic and was first observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states, although the South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day is in many ways a picture of what is good about our nation. Through the years many courageous soldiers have given their life for the good of others. They faced evil and oppression around the world and determined in their heart that they would sacrifice their life for the future of generations to come. “Thank you” seems inadequate. But, what seems appropriate for our generation today is to honor our fallen soldiers by being grateful for our freedom, respecting our flag, and rediscovering the value of hard work. America has a great heritage and on this Memorial Day weekend let’s celebrate by thanking God for those who sacrificed for us.

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.

-Kelly Strong