By Corinne Wnek
The older I get, and the more TV news I listen to, the more I appreciate patriotic holidays, like Memorial Day. But when I was much younger, I thought this ‘holiday’ was a very sad day because we recalled those who lost their lives fighting somewhere in the world to preserve the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States. The thought that someone lost his life for me, made this day seems like anything but a celebratory event, and yet it is.
Although there are various accounts of the origins of Memorial Day, many historians believe that it was first observed on May 30, 1868, when the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers were decorated in Arlington National Cemetery. At that time, Memorial Day was intended to honor all the dead who fought in the Civil War.
The South, however, refused to recognize this day and chose a different day to honor their fallen soldiers. It remained like this until the end of World War 1 when Memorial Day was designated to honor all Americans who lost their lives in any war or combat situation.
The remembrances of this day, coupled with current threats to our American way of life, should serve as a reminder that we must never take our freedom for granted.
Like the phoenix who rises to life from the ashes that consumed it, we must become something more than sad as we honor those who made the greatest sacrifice.
On this upcoming Memorial Day, we need to celebrate and be joyful for the legacy of freedom that has been entrusted to us. To vote in elections is a gift from a hero of another day. So is the right to practice the religion of our choice or none at all. We can even disagree with out elected leaders and make fun of them on national TV and no one will breakdown the door to our home and place us under arrest.
We can decide on the size of our family, where we will live and openly talk about what government programs we support as well as those we don’t. We can voice our opinion when it isn’t asked for and we can complain about anything we want with certainty that our family’s safety will not be in jeopardy. We can be capitalists and choose to not share the wealth.
We would do well to consider the words of Elmer Davis, an influential reporter from the 1950s, who was also the Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II, when he said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
Oh, yeah. Let freedom ring!
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!