Everyone seems to have their own interpretation of Memorial Day. Most think of Memorial Day as the beginning of summer with Labor Day marking the end. Or as a three day weekend full of BBQ’s, beer and bathing suits. People flock to the beach on Memorial Day weekend to catch some sun, sand and great swimming. Growing up in Maryland, to me it always marked the first crab feast of the year.
I was ignorant to the REAL meaning until I served in the United States Air Force and the Gulf War. I participated on the Honor Guard when I was a Airman First class and the many details that I carried caskets of fallen soldiers allowed me to bear witness to the enormous price of freedom that came along with serving. I remember traveling to Arlington National Cemetary and walking around and looking at the headstones of patriots that loved this country enough to do anything for it. I pictured all of the young men and women who died fighting on foreign soil to push back enemies that would try and harm our beloved Red, White, and Blue. That is what Memorial Day means to me now.
Memorial Day is a day to stop and remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Beginning as a day when Union and Confederate troops honored their dead, it has now morphed into a day in which we honor every service member who has died in service to our country.
I challenge you, if you want to find out what your true meaning of Memorial Day is, to visit Arlington National Cemetery and see the countless families there visiting their loved ones. Visit the gravesites of America’s own superheroes. Then, you will truly understand the significance of Memorial Day.
So, when you are thinking of all the adventures you are about to embark upon this summer, take a moment and remember those who made it possible for you to make your plans. Remember the people who can’t have a BBQ, attend a concert or go to the beach, because they gave their lives so that you and I can.