Amid the fun, take a moment to reflect on what you’re celebrating

We are about to embark on another summer in the greatest country in the world. Smoke from charcoal smokers will fill the air as music drifts through the back yards, camp sites and homes across the country. Baseball games will be played and parents and grandparents will cheer on the children on the field of play. The holiday that officially ushers in a summer of fun is Memorial Day, the day America begins the party; but wait there is more to this than barbeque.

Many people have taken time out of their lives to serve our nation. Others have become valiant men and women volunteering their time to better our society. These sacrifices without requested fanfare helped to build our country. Unfortunately, there are those in our country that would loƄve to erase all that has predated us, tear down a noble nation and rebuild nothing less than a totally socialistic and communistic nation. This can never happen.

Man has gone to war since time immemorial  It appears that over the history of our planet war was a right of passage for man. Men would pick up their weapons of war and march off to fulfil some inherited need to do what was thought to be right. Many returned but some remained on the field of battle to become the food for scavenging animals. Eventually society would become more civilized and the fallen would be returned to their homes for final burial. The American Civil War brought in a new dimension to repatriating those that died on the battlefield; bodies were embalmed and returned home to a family that wanted no more than to say good bye to one that gave the ultimate sacrifice to a noble cause.

As America grew up and became noble and just. Americans were sent overseas to fulfil a mission to make the world free and provide the opportunities to oppressed that a democratic society allows.  Again, many did not survive and thousands rest in graves around the world. Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, stated that America never desired any property from war; only enough land to bury our dead.  Quite a valiant statement and this epitomizes the American ideal.

The highest loss of life for American servicemen was the American Civil War.  Soon after it ended it was determined that America needed to honor those that died for their cause; regardless of the side they died for. The somber celebration was known as Decoration Day. The first celebration was commemorated by a speech by President Garfield at Arlington Cemetery.  Five thousand gathered to hear the speech and then decorate the graves of the twenty thousand Americans buried there. The holiday was celebrated on May 30th until 1968 when Congress changed the day to the last Monday of May and thus a three day holiday came into existence.

Enjoy the holiday and welcome in Summer with a whoop and a holler but  take a moment to remember the meaning of the holiday and reflect on the fact that you in a country that millions want to immigrate to. To those that wish to destroy us from within, let them spew their venom and diminish their lives with hate and discontent. If you need inspiration, I recommend tuning in to the Memorial Day celebration in Washington D.C., hosted by Gary Sinise, and take in the closing ceremony with the armed forces melody. There is nothing better.  Happy Memorial Day.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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