We have holidays in this country celebrating all manner of important occasions. Some I loosely lump into the category of “family” holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that focus on hearth and home. Others are “drinking” holidays like St. Patricks Day or Valentine’s Day. We celebrate three separate holidays, however, that are of a distinctly “patriotic” flavor. Independence Day is fairly self explanatory. Veteran’s Day honors the long list of men and women who have served in their nation’s uniform. Memorial Day, however, is the only national holiday we hold sacred to the memory of the sons and daughters of the Republic who died while in that uniform or of wounds received while in service.
The willingness of these citizen soldiers to, in the words of Kennedy’s inaugural address, “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty” is simply beyond what meager words of praise I can hope to offer. We owe them the world, but a moment of respectful tribute will have to suffice. The best we can do, it seems, it honoring their memory and living a life worthy of their sacrifice.