“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.
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”