“Happy Memorial Day…!” was the wish in subject line of the email I received. The sentiment continued in the body of the email with yet another “happy,” and even a “wonderful” in the mix as the sender continued to promote their business and their agenda.

Should our weekends or our lives be happy and wonderful? Of course!  Were the well wishes generally appreciated?  Sure.

Missing, however, was a call to action to pause, remember, honor, commemorate, or reflect upon the significance of the holiday and those it is intended to honor.

The short definition of Memorial Day: A national holiday honoring those who lost their lives while serving our country, Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day) began during the Civil War to honor the soldiers lost.  Since then, this day of remembrance has been expanded to honor fallen soldiers from all branches of the military and all wars.

Here’s the point: There are many people who “get it” and pay tribute to our military.  As firefighters and first responders, we have a pretty good handle on this.  In fact, many in our community are veterans and reservists. Still, there many others who need to be reminded that much of the ‘happy” and “wonderful’ we experience in this country wouldn’t be possible if not for the sacrifices of those who have fought for, and paid the ultimate price for, many of the freedoms and privileges many of us often take for granted. 

Yes, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer, and a long weekend for many civilians who have traditional work schedules. There are BBQs, big sales, parades, concerts, ceremonies, and time with family and friends; all good stuff, and much of it acknowledging the significance of Memorial Day.

This weekend, before you head to the beach, the BBQ, or wherever, please take a moment to remember all those who never made it back to their families and friends; please think of those families and friends as well.  And please encourage others to take some time to honor the fallen soldiers, and to thank those who continue to serve.

By appreciating and exercising all of our freedoms, we will keep their sacrifices from being in vain.  THANK YOU to all who have served and continue to serve the USA.  Be safe, all!