Today is Memorial Day. For the vast majority of us, it is a time to enjoy the beginning of summer. It didn’t start out that way. After the Civil War, cities and towns set aside a special day to put flowers on the graves of soldiers killed in the war. Gradually this coalesced into a single day known as Decoration Day. Eventually it became Memorial Day and was on May 30. Congress decided that the main reason for holidays is to have long weekends so it is now the last Monday in May.
There are 1,354,654 reasons why we should remember this day. That is the estimate of the number that died (it probably is too low) while serving their country in war. Of course statistics don’t begin to tell the story. Behind each one is a flesh and blood human being that had the same aspirations we do but didn’t live to achieve them. It doesn’t matter whether the war was popular or unpopular. They were there doing what they believed was necessary to keep the rest of us safe and free.
By all means go ahead and have some fun today. Please pause for just a moment to remember the true purpose of Memorial Day.