Monday, May 31, 2010

Lest We Forget

It's interesting how sometimes the most profound statements can be found in mundane places. The following is from a song by Lee Greenwood:

at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

Memorial Day has been celebrated here in the US regularly since 1866. It wasn't called anything then. It was just a day when people would go to the graves of all the men and boys they knew who had died in the Civil War. After a few years, it was called Decoration Day and established to be on May 30. It wasn't until later that it was called Memorial Day, and later still when it moved from May 30 to the last Monday in May .

(This would be a good time to point out the fact to all my Canadian friends that, while November 11 is indeed an important date, and that we would never try to downplay the sacrifices that Canadians or anyone else made during WWI or any other war, it's important to note that the reason November 11 is not as big of a holiday here in the US is because by the time WWI ended, we Americans had been celebrating Memorial Day for almost fifty years.)

But regardless of how it came to be called what and when, it's still the day that we Americans take the time to remember all the heroes, fallen and standing, of all of the wars in which we've fought. Because there's precious little in this world that's more important than remembering. Because the men who fought for freedom and liberty deserve to be remembered -- even if we don't remember their names, we at least remember what they did. Because without them, none of us would be where we are today. the words of Abraham Lincoln: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here."

Or in the words of Billy Ray Cyrus: "Love your country and live with pride
And don't forget those who died"

Either way? Never forget.

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