Posted by Laurel
Reading my local newspaper this morning, I saw pictures of graduations that had taken place this past weekend around the state of Rhode Island. Adjacent to the celebration snap-shots of caps in the air was a Memorial Day tribute to fallen soldiers. I was struck by the strange juxtaposition between life and death, beginning and end, joy and sadness printed on the page.
I should hardly have found it surprising, considering that graduations and Memorial Day always fall around the same time, year after year. Maybe it was the realization that, while we enjoy the day off of work and school today, spending quality time with our families, our fellow Americans are fighting 2 wars (3 if you count Libya). Between grilling hotdogs and hamburgers or taking a swim in the pool, there will undoubtedly be debate regarding whether or not the United States should even be involved in the Middle East.
But, that’s not what today is about. In contrast to commencement ceremonies, where graduates and their families look forward into the future, Memorial Day is about looking backward into the past. With smiles and pride we must acknowledge and thank all of those who fought to get us to where we are today. We are especially grateful for those who made the ultimate sacrifice to this great nation, by giving their lives to protect everything that we hold dear.
This is what we must remember. We will never forget the men and women who waded through swamps, trudged through deserts, shivered through cold nights, weathered countless wind, rain, and emotional storms, and put themselves in harm’s way time and time again, all in the name of the United States of America. It is their dedication and determination that help defend freedom around the globe. They are witnesses to the strength of the American cause.
To Uncle Larry and Grandpa, may you rest in peace. Papa and Uncle Don, thank you for your service. And to all of those in the armed forces, thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you, and may God bless the USA.