By Wayne Boesiger - May 30, 2011
This weekend, we packed up the car and headed up to our daughters track meet. My wife and I watched them throw shot put, long jump run various events. After we packed up our coolers, we drove three hours down to Kansas City to spend a day together just the four of us. We came back late last night and this morning, I’m watching the National Memorial Day Concert that I DVR’d. Later this morning, I will go to our local National Memorial Day Ceremony like I do every year.
Why do I give you such a mundane list of my weekend? Sounds like a silly way to describe what Memorial Day means to me. What it means to us as Americans is just what I described to you. How so, you may ask?
One of the ironic things about Memorial Day is that so many people do not seem to care about the “Why” of the holiday.
We care about spending times with our families, going to ball games and other sporting events (I don’t follow NASCAR….sorry) and just generally relax. This day shows us precisely what our fallen veterans have done for us, in spite of our seeming indifference.
You see, what so many of our veterans did for us is sacrifice their lives prematurely so that we could lives our, fully and freely, without fear. Memorial Day means that, in cemeteries throughout the world, we have men and women lying in Hallowed Ground who will never go to ball games, who will never have children or grandchildren or who will never have “fulfilling” careers because they gave the ultimate sacrifice fulfilling their duty. I would argue that there is nothing they would have done as a job in civilian life that would have been as fulfilling as what they did for their country.
Many of these young men and women did this out of a sense of duty. From the Civil War, where a people was freed and a nation restored, to the war in Afghanistan, where we are fighting an enemy that does not adhere to traditional battle lines, our armed forces fight to for their country and our way of life. They died, cutting a life that had the same promise (if not more) than you and I, so that we could live and do what we were destined to do.
Memorial Day, for whatever reason, has never quite caught on like the Fourth of July.
On the surface, it seems obvious. The Fourth of July was the day our Declaration of Independence was signed, giving birth to a whole country. Memorial Day, on the other hand, is not as glamorous. It is supposed to be our tribute to our soldiers who have helped keep that country alive over the centuries. I guess it is not as cool to go to a Memorial Day Ceremony (ever seen the attendance at one of the local ceremonies) or to go decorate graves for a soldier who has no one to decorate it for them.
So, today, as we are getting together with families and friends, make it a part of your day to say a prayer and remember (maybe even go to the cemetery) those who have given us the privilege of spending our days with loved ones in freedom. For it is those who will never get to live their lives out to their fullest, on this Memorial Day, who give us the ability to live ours out in freedom.