This weekend we pause across the United States to remember those who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation. The tradition of Memorial Day in the US dates back to the days following the Civil War. In the years after the war Decoration Day, as it was then known, was started as a recognition for the fallen Union soldiers in the conflict. Over time the ceremonies and focus or remembrance extended to all those who served. It would not be until 1967 that Congress would establish the date as a national holiday. It is a weekend of tradition for many. Family picnics, the opening of the community pool, the trip to the shore, community parades, retail sales and the Indianapolis 500 all add to the activities on Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully you have found time this weekend to recognize the veterans in your family present and past. Maybe you attended a parade or ceremony to honor those who serve and those lost in battle. Not everyone takes time to remember the importance of our time as a nation to remember. For me, even in a family and with a father who served in the military, I didn’t really get it. I looked forward to the pool and the grilling. Oddly it was a speech about veterans, not even on Memorial Day, that clicked for me to understand the sacrifices that those who serve make.
Remembering our men and women in service is important today and should be important at Christmas as well. That time of family connections is another time to remember those missing from the celebration. We should all take time to make those days easier for the families with a new empty seat. If someone in your family or a close friend is a veteran or on activity duty, consider a special gift to appreciate their time and sacrifice. Thank you to all who have served, do serve, and will serve our freedom. You have given all of us the ultimate gift of your dedication, service, and lives. Thank you very much.