Memorial Day: So Much More than PBR and Hotdogs

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day"?

It was established in the late 1800's as a day to honor those who have given their lives in service to this country by visiting their graves and decorating them with flowers as a sign of gratitude.

Honestly, I didn't know that either until about 5 minutes ago when I looked it up.

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Arlington Cemetery

Do you know anyone who plans to visit a cemetery on Monday?
I bet not.

While most people in some way recognize this weekend's significance in honoring those fallen warriors, it is usually by wearing their trashy American Flag tank top (I own multiple, and plan on proudly sporting one on Monday) or using their 'Merica beer coozie with their PBR while they float around some body of water.
This day marks the beginning of summer, the end of the school year, and the freedom that summertime brings.  But let's not forget what we are really "celebrating" on this day.

In America we are a nation of optimists, of dreamers, and of people who can make the best out of any situation... so it is only fitting that we choose to celebrate these men and women who gave their lives for us with a clink of the glass and a rowdy party (that's what they would have wanted anyways). It's funny to consider, though, how this day could also be interpreted as a national day of mourning.
It could be day of mourning for all those hundreds... thousands... millions of men and women throughout our history-- many of them not even old enough to enjoy a nice cold brew with you-- who have sacrificed their own lives, their own freedom so that you and I can can live our lives to the fullest.
But that's not how we work in America. We celebrate and honor the courage and the unconditional love that these brave humans showed to us without ever setting eyes on us.

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I am willing to bet that if you could reach beyond the grave and ask those who have died in service to our country one simple question: "Would you do it again?" every single one of them would give a resounding "Abso-fuckin-lutely!" They wouldn't him and haw over it... they wouldn't take a few minutes to consider their other options... they would give a resounding yes.

Isn't that incredible? These people had families. They had friends. When they left this earth they left people who cared about them behind.... a lot of them. But they understand that sacrifice when they sign up, and they face it with head held high because THEY know that freedom is worth it. They know that one man can and does make a difference... because they all add up to the giant sum that is American Freedom.
I only wish that I had a heart that big. I don't. My husband does. It baffles me, it really does... it takes such a special person to have the ability to be that selfless.
I am so grateful to be surrounded everyday by people who truly know what the price of freedom means. I have learned from these amazingly generous people that you can take nothing for granted. Tomorrow isn't a guarantee, but our freedom as a nation is as long as these heroes continue to exist.

It is a direct result of these amazing men and women that we have the freedom to enjoy this weekend however we see fit.

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All I ask of you is that you take a moment this weekend to send some gratitude out into the Universe to these incredible people. They deserve at least that much from us.

You may not know anyone personally who has lost their life in battle, or in training, or in a humanitarian aid mission, [edited for 2016 to include] or by ISIS rocket fire... but for those who do, there is a gaping hole in their lives.
There is a hole that no amount of patriotic celebration can fill.
It is a hole that freedom shines through and their tears fall through, especially on days like this.

Be grateful, and enjoy the weekend!



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