Remembering on Memorial Day
The next holiday on our calendars is Memorial Day, so big plans for the weekend are a must. In Charlotte, North Carolina, people are gearing up for the Coca-Cola 600, the big May race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Race fans from all over have pitched their tents or are camping out in RVs anxiously waiting to cheer on their favorite drivers. Staking out a patch of sand this weekend is essential for those beach-bound. The beaches will be packed with beachgoers soaking up the sunshine, surfing, and strolling along the water’s edge. Grills are firing up to cook hotdogs and hamburgers, and backyards are filled with games and laughter, friends and family. Needless to say, Memorial Day is a holiday that many people look forward to. Most everyone has the time off, making it a perfect excuse to gather together in celebration. It marks the beginning of the busy summer season, with the school year ending and vacations getting ready to begin. It is a nice interlude to the crazy and exciting days of summer time.
In between the traveling, reapplying sunscreen and chowing down on burgers, the real reason behind Memorial Day is something we should all take a second to think about. The day was created as a way to honor those who have fallen in our nation’s service. One of the most beautiful traditions that takes place on this day is done by the soldiers of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (also known as the Old Guard). Each year, the Thursday before Memorial Day, the soldiers go to the Arlington National Cemetery and place American flags at each of the 260,000 plus gravestones. During the weekend the soldiers patrol the area, making sure that all the flags remain standing.
While we have our own traditions on Memorial Day, whether it is the annual trip to the beach, or having people over for a cookout, it is important not to forget why we are able to keep up these traditions. The ones who have fallen and the ones who are still fighting, they give us a gift that we should never take for granted: the gift of freedom and liberty.
“Let us here, highly resolve that these honored dead shall not have died in vain.”—Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address