Monday is so much more than a day off work. I enjoy a BBQ and celebrating my freedom as much as the next patriot, but we have many days to do that. We are blessed to have days like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving dedicated to celebrating and remembering our history and the freedoms we’ve been given.
Monday simply is not one of them.
On Monday, we honor the fallen. Those brave men and women who gave their last full measure of devotion are not an excuse to break out the grill or begin wearing white. They deserve so much more than that.
As a military spouse, I cringe at the years Memorial Day passed as simply a holiday. I cringe about the time I wished someone a “Happy Memorial Day” as I waited in line, armed with hot dogs and hamburgers. There is nothing happy about a day commemorating the dead.
We can and should be proud of their sacrifice. We should honor and support their families members left behind. We should strive to make sure that we raise children as honorable as those who are willing to give their all for others. We must keep their stories alive.
I now have seen the deep cost that military families have paid. Even in times of peace, there is inherent danger in being a military member. During war time, that pain is ever present. I’ve held children who have lost their father. I’ve stood in Arlington and surveyed the thousands upon thousands of graves. I have wept at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and gazed upon the oil still drifting up from Pearl Harbor and wondered how the families of those who fell, who are entombed in sunken ships they served in, survived their grief.
I have seen the deep pain this day was built to commemorate, and I ache when it is casually overlooked in favor of a celebration of the beginning of summer.
Memorial Day is not just about the freedom we’ve been given but about the high, high price it has been bought at. It is a day to stop, survey the beauty, and recognize the cost.
So please, this Memorial Day, stop and pass down the legacy of the fallen. I encourage you to come alongside those in grief. Find a way to support Gold Star Families. Folds of Honor is an amazing organization and I’ve seen firsthand the way they’ve helped the widows and orphans whose lives bear the mark of our freedoms.
Tell your children what and why Monday is a day off work. Savor the time you have as a family and do something together to serve. Lay wreaths on graves. Pray together for those grieving. Share about the fallen. Find a way to remember the day for what it is and to honor those who have paid the ultimate cost.
For information on Folds of Honor, click here.