Patriotism is a virtue that makes our country great. That is why we set aside specific days on our calendar to honor fallen soldiers, remember our military veterans, and celebrate American history.
One of those days is Memorial Day, which we celebrate starting this weekend. While Memorial Day often means different things to different people, its roots lie in American patriotism and its counterparts, sacrifice and honor. The history buffs among us know that Memorial Day began at the time of the American Civil War as Decoration Day and then evolved after World War II into a national observance for all Americans who have died in U.S. military service. It has officially been observed on the last Monday in May since the 1970s.
Many of us either have family or friends who have served in the military or we have served ourselves. We know the importance of a strong military, of patriotism, of honor and sacrifice.
We are torch bearers, of sorts, of our nation’s patriotic flame. And we must guard that flame or risk letting it go out.
I like the way the poet Wallace Bruce explained this responsibility in his poem “Memorial Day,” first published in a book called Wanderers in 1907:
“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”
Our region has had many patriots who have served, fought, and given their lives for our nation’s freedom. Their names and service are memorialized in perpetuity at our courthouses, parks, and other locations. And it is truly our responsibility on Memorial Day to personally recognize the sacrifices of these patriots—and those throughout the nation— with our thoughts, presence, and prayers.
Join me in supporting our military patriots by observing the true meaning of Memorial Day this year. It is the least we as Americans can do, “lest we forget.”