Memorial Day: Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom

Happy Memorial Day everyone. I wanted to celebrate this Memorial Day by going back into the archives and bringing out a very special Memorial Day article written by one our long-timers here at The Right Scoop.

By American Duckie

Memorial Day seems to mean long holiday weekends, sales, sports, picnics and barbeques. For many others however, it’s a day of remembering family members, friends, fellow military members who served and paid the ultimate sacrifice or those who served in generations past.

Too often people take for granted their being born in America.  They take for granted the freedoms they have always had. Most native born Americans have never had to think about what real oppression, persecution and being under control of a tyrannical government is like.

America is a nation of success stories. Many people have come to this country with nothing but a dream, daring to be free to create businesses and opportunities for themselves and their families. This wouldn’t be possible if America wasn’t the land of the free. And the only reason we are the land of the Free is because of the Brave.

Is America perfect? No, but this country still is the best country, where people see freedom and still dream of a chance for a better life.

I often hear people complain about America, yet they never stop to think of the fact that they are free to criticize our country, our politicians and even our military. One thing that really bothers me is when people say that our troops don’t make us free. I wonder if these people would consider what America would be like if we didn’t have the men and women willing to sacrifice so much, people who throughout our history who sacrificed everything because they believed freedom was worth it?

What would America be like if we had have lost the Revolution, or if no one had cared enough to fight it at all?  What would the world look like if America hadn’t been created as a Constitutional Republic which has been a beacon of freedom for people all over the world, many of whom suffered or died to come?

If America was still under British rule, would our country have had the military might to help the Crown and allies during the two World Wars? If we didn’t have men and women offer their services during World War 2, what would we be like as a nation? What would the world be like if Hitler’s Nazi regime won?

Americans with the exception of Pearl Harbor, invasion of Alaska and the 9/11/01 attacks have never faced an act of war up close and personal like those in other countries who suffered daily bombings and worse. The attacks on our homeland were cowardly, shocking, frightening and deadly. Most Americans however watched in shock from their own televisions in their comfortable homes in their own towns far removed from the reality on the ground.

With the exception of older generations who lived during World War 2, most Americans have never had to go without during a time of war, never had to sacrifice for the war effort, never had to worry about air raid sirens, blacking out windows at night. Americans who have never lived in Nazi occupied countries, never been invaded by Japanese, Communists or maniacal dictators never had to worry about cattle cars, gulags or reeducation camps. They’ve never had to worry about being taken to gas chambers, or murdered for their political or religious beliefs.

Most Americans are completely unaware of atrocities done in our times that others have and still endure, and that American troops have fought it all and still do. Our troops have fought in countries they had never heard of or never imagined being in to keep the fight away from our homeland.

It’s easy to be complacent when we live in a free country. It’s convenient to ignore the atrocities going on in other parts of the world by turning the TV off or switching to some “Reality Show”. Many people in our world don’t have that kind of a choice, as they live it every day, seeing neighbors, friends and family members being dragged out of their homes, forced to flee, face certain death, and in many cases things worse than death.

Some Americans have voluntarily seen it up close and personal, and they’ve done it so we don’t have to.

Memorial Day has its roots from the few years after the Civil War when Decoration Day was created so the nation could visit and honor the war dead.  Arlington National Cemetery was where flowers were placed on both Union and Confederate graves while saying prayers and singing Hymns.

It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order in which he proclaimed, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land…”

It was officially renamed Memorial Day in Waterloo, New York in May, 1966 by Lyndon B. Johnson in May 1966. It is now observed on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971.

The day was always meant as a time to reflect and honor the memories of those who have died during war. No matter our politics, the fact is we can spend a holiday in May to go to sales and baseball games, have picnics and barbeques only because someone else gave us the freedom to.

This Memorial day, when you’re on your way to that sale, ball game or picnic, stop to give thanks to those who are buried in the local cemetery.  They may or may not have been gone for a long time, but let’s make sure they are not forgotten. We owe them at least that much.

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