(Kathleen T. Rhem)
I can’t help but notice a trend recently, that America is beginning to remember the real reason for Memorial Day. Local papers feature articles about Memorial Day services, the holiday’s history, or the families of the fallen, putting them above the fold. Pictures of the fallen are prominently displayed. Arguably the best of all is by Gannett Government Media, the parent company of Military Times, which has honored the fallen every year since 9/11.
Stories about camping and picnics have been relegated to secondary articles.
A few years ago my posts were indignant. The press had forgotten. I cannot say for sure, but I think America is remembering again.
Memorial Day is a day of tribute to honor those who died serving their country, not a day to buy a mattress. They left the security of their hometowns and traveled to distant lands to defend us. To borrow from a quote from Senator John McCain, they were the shield behind which marches the enduring message of our revolution. There is not higher duty; there is no higher honor.
I have had the privilege of working with veterans who sacrificed for their country and will wear the scars for the rest of their lives. Many of them carry with them the memories of close friends who sacrificed even more. Each of them honors their fallen comrades in their own personal and private way.
But the point is, they remember.
Roughly a third of all Americans know someone who has served in the military. Only one percent have actually served. This is unsettling, but I find it comforting to know that the other 99 percent share in the recognition that those who never came home must be honored. They are the reason we enjoy the privileges of life in America. Without them we would have nothing.
Honor them. Remember them. Pray for their families left behind.
Not just on Memorial Day, but always.