Memorial comes from the latin word memorialis meaning serving as a reminder. The definition of Memorial is a structure or event established to commemorate a person or an incident. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave their lives for our country. Every person who enjoys the freedoms America has to offer should be grateful to those who fight, have fought, and have lost their lives protecting America.
Why is Memorial Day important?
Memorial Day is a national day of remembrance. A day to honor, grieve, and share the memories of those who have fallen. When I asked an active duty Marine what Memorial Day meant to him, he told me it is deeply meaningful for him. He remembers the service of his Great-grandfather as well as his fallen brothers in his Marine family.
I think my friend who is a retired Sailor said it best when he said, "Freedom isn't Free, because Freedom is never paid for... it is only rented." Men, women, and their families have been paying the rent of freedom on our behalf for years. Memorial Day is the day we say thank you by honoring their sacrifice.
How can the average citizen show gratitude on Memorial Day?
Fly the American Flag proudly at half mast from dawn until noon. Go to a local Memorial Day Parade and ceremony at the cemetery. Visit a local monument. (If my small practically nonexistent town has monuments I'm sure yours does too.... check it out.) The Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts preform flag placement in the cemeteries in my area, they always need help and it's a great way to get children involved in a positive way. I have found flag placement in cemeteries to be fulfilling as young children take pride not only in their flag, but in those who died fighting for it.
None of the above activities takes a full day, so there is still plenty of time for that family BBQ or run up to the lake. My point? There is no excuse for not paying proper respects and honoring the fallen of this great country.
Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.