Break out the grills. Open the swimming pool. Memorial Day is here and Americans all across the country will gather with family and friends to enjoy a long weekend. And that’s a good thing. It’s a freedom thing. It’s what our fallen heroes would want us to do.
But before you fire up the grill, before you start tossing that football around, be sure to remember what Memorial Day is and why you have the opportunity to celebrate today.
Men and women died for our freedoms, for our America. Let that sink in. Brothers. Dads. Sisters. Moms. Gone before their time. Children who will never get tucked in by mom, or know what it’s like to have dad there for their big game.
Our fallen soldiers, America’s heroes, and their families and friends are what we remember this Memorial Day.
Yes, have your picnic. Enjoy your freedom today. But first, try something you’ve maybe never done before. Find a family in your neighborhood or church or school or workplace that lost a loved one in battle. Thank them.
Don’t stop there, though. Buy them dinner, ask them to tell you about their fallen hero. Visit the gravesite with them. Why? General George S. Patton said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” You’ll never really understand Memorial Day unless you see it through the eyes of someone who’s lost someone close to them. And though their pain is something most of us will never understand, when you come alongside those who’ve lost a loved one to a heroes death – and when you get to “know” that hero through the memories their family shares, when you “celebrate that such men lived,” you’ll never be the same. Your Memorial Day celebration will never be the same. And that’s a good thing.
We live with a generation that grows up thinking of war as a video game, and Memorial Day as a day off school. But war isn’t a game, and Memorial Day is about remembering the brave men and women who died so that we might live free.
Why should you have a cookout today? Because our heroes would want you to. They’d want you to enjoy your family and your friends. They’d want you to enjoy the freedom they sacrificed to win for you.
So enjoy your hamburger. Wear red, white, and blue. And never, ever forget the men and women that made it possible for you to live in the greatest country on earth.
by Krystal Heath, follow her on Twitter