Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Day’

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not;
remember that what you now have
was once among the things you only hoped for.
~ Epicurus

We have a lot of things to remember.

Shopping lists and schedules.

Appointments and deadlines.

Birthdays and travel plans.


When was the last time you spent any time remembering your hero?

Not the idols who thrill us with their fantastic voices.

Not the dancers who amaze us with spectacular choreography.

Not the athletes who bring home the championship trophy.

Not the authors who write compelling prose.

Not the hosts who ask the intriguing questions.

True heroes.

Those who gave their lives in the line of duty in our nation’s service, so that we might enjoy the things we once only hoped for.

They gave up everything for honor.

For love of country.

For freedom.

For me.

For you.

With Memorial Day right around the corner . . . as you make your lists and schedule your plans . . . relishing a day outside of your normal routine, don’t forget to remember the ones who have made our freedom — our way of life — possible.

Our true heroes.  The men and women who gave everything so that we have the opportunity to live the life we have imagined.

Let us never take their sacrifice for granted.

Let us never forget to remember.

Whatever you are, be grateful — our freedom wasn’t free.


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The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission” [John F. Kennedy].

This past weekend our country observed Memorial Day. Unfortunately, “traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country” [Memorial Day History].

Yesterday, Greg and I biked the T. J. Evans Recreational Trail. We started in Johnstown, and traveled 10 miles through Alexandria, nearly to Granville, before retracing our route. The trail is heavily shaded, the weather was warm, and a nice breeze kept us comfortable. Although we encountered a number of people out enjoying the holiday, the two-hour excursion was peaceful and a perfect time for reflection of Memorial Day.

There are so many rights and freedoms we enjoy as American citizens, and, unfortunately, often take for granted: Freedom of religion, the right to free speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble and petition, the right to bear arms, freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right to vote (just to name a few).

Too often we live our lives, never pausing to realize how incredibly blessed we are. These rights we enjoy are not common to people everywhere. How many other countries believe that man has an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

The freedoms we enjoy came at great cost. “Freedom is not free. Never has been. Never will be” [Gary Keesee]. It is important that we honor the sacrifices that have been made for you and I to live in this “land of opportunity.” We must never neglect to recall the courageous men and women who have given their lives so that we might live our lives in freedom.

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it” [Thucydides].

“Throughout our history, thousands of brave Americans have died serving their country and fighting for their beliefs. From the early days of the American Revolution to our current war in Iraq, the numbers of battle deaths speak to the sacrifices our soldiers, and their families, have made.”

American Revolution (1775-1783)


War of 1812 (1812-1815)


Mexican War (1846-1848)


Civil War (1861-1865)

140,414 (Union); 74,524 (Confederate)

Spanish-American War (1898-1902)


World War I (1917-1918)


World War II (1941-1945)


Korean War (1950-1953)


Vietnam War (1964-1975)


Gulf War (1990-1991)


Afghanistan War (2001-present)

677 (as of April 13, 2009)

Iraq War (2003-present)

4,271 (as of April 13, 2009)

~ They Died for Their Country

The brave men and women represented by these numbers not only fought for freedom, each of their individual acts of heroism inspires our nation to remain great. “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened” [Billy Graham].

To all of those who have paid the price for our country’s freedom, who died yesterday and serve as an example of courage today, we honor you and thank you for your patriotism and service.

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost” [Arthur Ashe].

Follow the example of those who have gone before us. Be courageous today. Be a hero today. Serve others whatever the cost.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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