The last Monday in May is Memorial Day. It gives American citizens a comfortable three-day weekend that is typically filled with patriotic themes, barbecues, and time spent at the beach. The true meaning of Memorial Day is much more than an official start to summer. The main reason we celebrate Memorial Day is to show respect and honor to veterans who died in service.
The United States of America has always been a nation founded on the principles of democracy and extending personal freedoms to every citizen. Not one person living today would have any of the freedoms they enjoy if it hadn’t been for the ultimate sacrifices made by veterans over the centuries. Our military does more than keep war from our shores — it also serves our nation’s best interest abroad. Although at times the reasons for war may be controversial, we should never lose sight of the sacrifices made by those who put the peace of our nation above their own lives.
This Memorial Day, let’s remember all of the reasons for the holiday and focus on why we celebrate and honor veterans who died in service. Here are seven reasons why you should honor veterans who died in service this Memorial Day.
- To show support for our military
- To show support for families of slain soldiers
- To show thanks for those who died for our nation’s freedom
- To express appreciation for our veterans’ service and ultimate sacrifice
- To show that veterans’ deaths are not in vain
- To teach the next generation the meaning of patriotism
- To honor heroes who put the safety of our nation above their own lives
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 30, 2016
It is important that we show our support for the military on Memorial Day. Not only is it something our military needs year round, but on days that are set aside to recognize their service, showing disrespect can have a profound impact. Those who choose days like Memorial Day to deface tombstones, cemeteries, or memorial walls are truly attacking the service of men and women who fought valiantly for our country’s freedom. More so, they are bringing shame, hurt, and disrespect to the families of slain soldiers. Maybe people feel they need to make a statement against politics, but choosing to deface our veterans resting places and memorials is not only a weak way to express a point but is also a crime.
Our veterans deserve respect and honor for their sacrifices. Our nation must show thanks to those who died so that we could enjoy freedom and liberty. Memorial Day is the one time of the year set aside to specifically remember every military person who perished during their service. At 3 p.m. local time, a moment of remembrance is held by those who truly want to close their eyes and quietly say thank you to those fallen veterans who loved this nation more than their own lives.
Memorial Day is a time when we collectively express our appreciation for the sacrifices made by fallen soldiers. Take time to visit a cemetery and make sure there are flowers or flags on soldiers’ graves. Attend a parade and show your appreciation by letting living soldiers know you thank them for their service. Many veterans who survive combat are forever changed. Every service man and woman understands the risks of fighting. They willingly choose to give their lives for our nation’s security, and if they survive combat, they often have a difficult, uphill road ahead of them. Take time on Memorial Day to show your thanks and appreciation for the sacrifices made by veterans.
Memorial Day shows that veterans’ deaths are not in vain. Every life offered up and sacrificed for the safety of our country needs to be given honor and respect. Memorial Day is the one time of year that we specifically show honor to those who died, and it is our nation’s way of not only saying thank you but that your life and sacrifice mattered to our country. When a soldier dies in service, our nation has lost a hero. It doesn’t matter if the sacrifice was made a week ago or centuries ago. Memorial Day is important because it recognizes the lives of those who died in service and says your life was important to the freedom of our country.
Many fear that younger generations are losing touch with the meaning of patriotism. Memorial Day is the perfect time to teach young children about our country, how it was founded, and how we protect ourselves from enemies in order to provide peace and safety for American citizens. Teaching children to honor and respect fallen soldiers on Memorial Day instills lasting values that will help them respect soldiers well into adulthood. While political opinions may vary and change, respect for veterans who served our country and sacrificed their lives for others should never be looked down upon. Memorial Day honors those who died for our nation. It is important that our nation collectively, as well as individually, shows and expresses respect to those veterans who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Our country has seen many wars since its founding over 200 years ago. There are more than 318 million American residents, and each of us owes our freedom to the veterans who fought for this nation and to give us our rights. While holidays such as Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day are times set aside to honor both living and fallen veterans, let’s look to honor our military vets every day of the year. The attitude of reverence, respect and thanks we show to soldiers who perished during the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I and World War II, Korean wars, and Viet Nam should be the same as those returning from combat today, and not just on Memorial Day. We must honor and respect those who cross seas and distant shores to fight against tyranny and terror in order to strengthen our own nation’s freedom.
While there are always political divides and controversies at play any time military force is used, we should never allow ourselves to disrespect or disregard the services and sacrifices of our American brothers and sisters who sacrificed their own lives to ensure future generations would live in freedom, safety, security, and peace. Memorial Day is one of our nation’s most important holidays for military.
Please see the video below as President Obama delivers the 2016 Memorial Day speech.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 30, 2016
[Image via Cheryl Casey/Shutterstock]