Remembering Common Virtue

“Poor is the nation that has no heroes. Poorer still is the nation that, having heroes, fails to remember and honor them.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a day we mark with picnics and parades. The unofficial beginning of summer, yet so much more than the chance to eat hot dogs and buy a new swimsuit.

Decoration Day, as the holiday was originally known, began after the Civil War–our bloodiest conflict. It was a time when a divided country was trying to heal–perhaps as we are today.

We mark the day on the last Monday of May–but May 30 had been the selected date before three-day weekends became a priority. May 30 remembered no notable battles from the Civil War–although our several wars since may not have missed the day.

We enrich ourselves in this remembering. Remembering those who’ve done noble things tells us we can be noble too.

Of his sailors and marines at Iwo Jima in World War II, Admiral Chester Nimitz said, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.” Iwo Jima is famous for the flag-raising image that is now a statue.

Three of the six flag raisers were killed in battle.

My father was in the South Pacific as a Navy medic. He was someone who went to war to make sure others came home safely. Someone who hoped not to see battle–but was prepared in case he did,

“Courage,G.K. Chesterton said,  is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”

Today we remember those who wanted to live but gave themselves instead.

For us.

Photo Credit: Pixabay and Wikipedia

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24 Replies to “Remembering Common Virtue”

  1. It’s good to remember the sacrifices made for this great country. I pray that we not only remember, but also never let go of the freedoms we have fought for over the years. I love the truth you state, “We enrich ourselves in this remembering. Remembering those who’ve done noble things tells us we can be noble too.”

    Great post! Thank you for sharing and giving us this moment to remember.

  2. So often this day becomes a day of celebration and marks the beginning of summer as you say. May we always remember those who lost their lives so that I can live mine freely.

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