“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” — Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Today we celebrate Memorial Day, which is widely known as the official start of summer. It is celebrated with friends and family, at the beach, in the back yard cooking out, or just enjoying the long weekend.
But let’s not forget the true meaning and purpose of the day.
Many attribute the beginning of Memorial Day (Decoration Day) with President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address at the Gettysburg National Cemetery 150 years ago to honor the fallen soldiers fighting to preserve the Union. Lincoln closed that famous speech with this line:
“That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Every time I am traveling through airports, I see our young men and women in the armed forces leaving or coming home and always think about their service to our country. I also think about the first responders who ran toward the explosions in the Boston Marathon bombing and 9/11, risking their lives for others — for all of us. These are stark reminders of the dangerous world we live in and how fragile our freedoms and life really are. Yet, these men and women put themselves in harm’s way so that we can enjoy the freedoms of our great nation. That is what today is truly about — remembering that ultimate devotion and sacrifice that these soldiers, sailors, marines, guardsman, police, firefighters, and EMS personnel all do for us.
Please take a moment to join me in remembering our heroes, both living and fallen, today at 3 p.m. in a moment of silence.
And pray for peace.