Memorial Day was created shortly after the end of the Civil War to honor those who have fallen in defense of our country. Today, in the news, we’ll hear about politics, about immigration, about the housing market. But also today, all across the country, people who will never be in a headline will be quietly honoring our military members – alive and dead – in their own ways.
Flags will be flown from countless homes. The individual ceremonies will be private, the thoughts known only to the flag bearers’ own hearts.
Other flags will be placed on veterans’ graves by people who never met the recipients, but honor their service nonetheless. Later, family members will visit and reflect on the spirit and memories of their loved ones…and feel pride at the tiny symbols of American greatness fluttering in the breeze. They’ll add flowers and their tears.
In many places families will get together again, sharing stories and wishing those who were taken too soon were with them still.
And out there – all over the world – others will be standing watch, ever vigilant, protecting the same liberties as those who have fallen. They’ll think of home, of loved ones, of their buddies, and wonder if we remember them too. We do. We remember them all.
Memorial Day is a quiet day, but a powerful one. Behind every flag, every ceremony, every memory is a quiet understanding of what these men and women have done to defend our most cherished rights. Put simply, they put their own lives in peril to protect ours. And to me, there is no higher honor.