This day used to be called Decoration Day, because women of the
South used to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers after the Civil
War, regardless of whether those soldiers had fought for north or
south. Which is the point of the day….to honor those who have served,
and fallen.

Though it’s a national holiday in the U.S., the need to honor heroes is universal and ancient.

A Memorial Day website has this quote set aside:

“Not only are they commemorated by columns and
inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them,
graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.” — Pericles (c. 600
B.C.E.)

When I see veterans, I appreciate them so much. I wonder what
they’ve been through, what they’ve seen. How they can come home….those
who make it….and live a normal life again, blending in with countless
folks who have no idea what heroes they are and don’t ever think of
what has gone on through the decades to keep us free to go to malls and
movie theaters and fast food places and have barbecues…..and express
opposition to war in safety with respect to the laws of the land.

Many people are filled with gratitude and want to express it. Here’s a letter posted online:

“This weekend I’m going to do something different. I’m
going to buy some carnations and go to a nearby cemetery and walk
through the section for soldiers. When I find a grave that has no
flowers, I’ll leave one and say a prayer for the family of that person,
who for some reason could not bring their soldier flowers. I’ll pray
for our country and all who serve or have served. For their families,
who also serve by losing precious time spent with their loved ones who
are off serving, preserving peace and the freedom we have in this
country. I’ll pray for the families who paid the ultimate price, who’s
loved ones died, or were taken captive and never returned. I’ll pray
for anyone who may still be held captive and thinks maybe they’re
forgotten. I do NOT forget.

At least 10 million people a month visit online memorials. That’s awesome. Here’s one. Here’s another. And there are so many more…

Like this reminder: Every Day’s Memorial Day.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....