by Scott Hansen
This weekend our country will be celebrating Memorial Day, remembering those men and women who gave their lives in defense of our freedom against those who would take it from us.
Originally known as Decoration Day, this tradition began in 1868, just after the Civil War. The Grand Army of the Republic, an organization made up of Union veterans, wanted a day for the nation’s citizens to decorate the graves of those fallen in battle. The Confederates also had a remembrance holiday, and the two merged into one day over time, and was extended into a holiday for all those who died.
Most people think about the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, but there are others who lost their lives during wartime that were not on the front line. Factory workers, many who could not serve in the armed forces, worked tirelessly to build the tanks and planes that were used in battle. The entertainers who put themselves in harm’s way to keep the morale of our defenders high, and the list goes on.
Today, the holiday is the unofficial start of summer, when most Americans kids are out of school, families plan their yearly vacations and otherwise enjoy their freedom to the maximum. Before you set out on those adventures, take a moment to reflect; use the holiday to teach the next generation the value of freedom, and the cost that was paid that they may enjoy it.
“I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” – Abraham Lincoln