Honoring Our Veterans #Gratitude
I hope you enjoyed Memorial Day yesterday. I am glad that you got a day off from school. In Michigan, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer and campers take advantage of the long weekend to get away, relax and spend time with family. Although, I do hope Memorial Day has greater meaning for them and for you.
Purpose of Memorial Day: If you don’t know, Memorial Day was instituted as a day of remembrance for those who fought and died in the Civil War. Of course, this country has seen many wars since 1865 and we continue to honor the fallen soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Each cemetery is supposed to put an American flag by the grave of every Veteran.
Memorial Day, 2014: Each Memorial Day, we dress our 4 girls in red, white and blue. We find a memorial service and sometimes a parade. We listen to the speakers and we personally thank as many soldiers as we can for their service to this country. This year we went to Veterans Memorial Park in Traverse City. The first speaker was a senior from a local high school who recited President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The next speaker was a mother who lost her son in Afghanistan in 2012. Many in the audience weeped right along with her. The final speaker was a Lieutenant Colonel, who talked to us about the staggering statistics of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sadly, she told us that every 65 minutes a veteran commits suicide, which means every day 22 veterans take their own life… which means 8,030 American citizens who fought for our country decided that life was not worth living.
Author’s Perspective: Every year we do this. Every year the speeches make us cry. Every year we are forced to remember the hundreds of thousands of our military who fought and died… so that we could enjoy our freedoms and our liberties. To be honest, the girls don’t love doing this. I am quite sure that our two youngest barely contemplate what is going on. Still, it builds a sense of gratitude… a tradition of honoring those who served our country and it provides a darn good history lesson.
Still, in a city that has over 143,000 residents, there were less than 1,000 people at the Memorial Service. Of those in attendance, I estimate that 80% of them were over the age of 60. When the narrator asked Veterans to stand and be recognized, about 1/4 of the audience did so. So, I am left wondering… Why do older generations seem to care more about the significance of this day than younger generations and why do people who have served in the military come out in greater numbers than those who never served? In a society of people that gets on their jerseys, hats and color to honor their favorite athletic team, why don’t we show the same passion for the true heroes?
Your Turn: Please place your comments below, (2) like and share our Facebook page (character development & leadership) or (3) tweet to @CDandLeadership using #Gratitude)
1) What did you do on Memorial Day to honor those who have fought and died for America? If not, why not?