“If silence is ever golden, it must be here beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung.”
These words, spoken by James Garfield at Arlington Cemetery in 1868, embody the spirit of Memorial Day! Although Memorial Day has come to signify the official launch into summer as we cook out with friends and family and enjoy a long weekend together, the meaning of the holiday is deep and sobering. Although Veterans’ Day serves to acknowledge and celebrate all those who have served, Memorial Day is specifically for those who served and never came back to their families, making the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Memorial Day is a chance to say “thank you” by taking time to acknowledge the sacrifices that individuals and their families have made for our freedom. May we never forget that the freedom and safety we experience in our country come at a high cost. As a way to pay respect, it is encouraged to observe a moment of silence at 3 PM on Memorial Day to honor the lives that have been lost for our freedom. The weight and ramifications of the sacrifice of these individuals and their families is hard to fathom, especially as we think of those in our lives that we hold dearly and that bring such significant joy to us. Truly, a day set aside to honor those who never came home and their loved ones who have suffered and sacrificed so much for our country is fitting.
As we celebrate Memorial Day this year, let’s hold our loved ones just a little closer as we remember the meaning behind the holiday. To any of you reading this who may have lost a loved one in service to our country, “thank you.” I hope this Memorial Day is a time of reflection for all of us, healing for those who are grieving, and sweet new memories made with friends and family as we celebrate.