On the first Memorial Day on May 30th, 1868, General John Logan asked that we “renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”
On this 144th Memorial Day, we remember and honor the dead of more recent wars. We remember the sacrifices in war made by our grandfathers and grandmothers, our aunts and uncles, our brothers and sisters, and our children and grandchildren.
In 1971, Congress transformed Memorial Day into a popular “three day weekend.” In celebrating outdoor cooking, family, and the promise of summertime, we may forget the nature of war, the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and the ongoing sacrifices and suffering of those they left behind. We may forget our responsibility as Americans, as the descendants and beneficiaries of great men and women, to live and to celebrate our precious liberty each day.
This weekend, let us remember the ideals of a free and noble America, and know that these ideals are worth fighting for. Let us say a silent prayer for our fellow veterans, our brothers and sisters in arms. Let us make time to aid and assist the widows and widowers, the children who have lost a parent, and the parents who have lost their beloved children because those brave ones heroically answered the call of service to their nation.
God bless them, and God bless America.