Today is Memorial Day 2021, a day set aside for the specific purpose of honoring the men and women who have given their lives so that we can be free. Today, we are able to work and play and live our lives here in the good 'ol USA, primarily because of the many, many lives that have been sacrificed in war. We are grateful to those who have so courageously given up their freedom, so that we may be free to learn, free to worship, free to enjoy our families, free to play, free to succeed in ways that would never be possible, if not for them. Because of them, our nation has enjoyed what other nations only dream of.
When you really stop to think about it, we are the recipients of an incredible gift. I must admit that over my lifetime I have not fully understood the awesomeness of that gift. That is, until several years ago when I began researching the significance of the day in preparation for speaking at our community Memorial Day service.
After several hours of research and interviews, my life was changed, as I learned a bit about the "holiday" from the perspective of a veteran. It is not the flowers, or the poppies, or the parades or lunches or even speeches that make Memorial Day special, but the people whose lives we honor, that make this day special. Today we take time to recognize the price that has been paid for our precious freedom that we so often take for granted, and we take time to recognize and honor the lives that were lost in order to secure that freedom for us all. I will probably never fully comprehend those courageous men and woman who have sacrificed their future, so America could have a future.
As you enjoy your day off, your picnics and family get-togethers, do not fail to take the time to recognize the significance of this day. Do not fail to thank a veteran for their willingness to serve so that we can be free, and do not fail to take time to thank God that there have been-and still are-brave men and women willing to go and serve our country in time of war, even to the very point of giving their lives for you and me.
As we all reflect and remember the sacrifices made and the high cost paid in the terms of human life, we should be changed human beings-changed to be more appreciative of those who have served and are yet serving in wars, changed to be more thoughtful of what their service means to us, changed to be more respectful of each other. May those who are younger humble themselves to be taught by the example of those who have gone on before, and those who are older be willing to teach the young, so they will know what Memorial Day is all about.
On this Memorial Day, perhaps more than ever it is of vital importance that in remembering our nation's fallen heroes, we also determine to reflect on and learn from the past so that America's future generations will continue to know and enjoy the blessings of freedom and understand that we are Free to Succeed!