Memorial Day is intended as a dedication to those who gave their lives for this nation.
Giving your life for your nation is the ultimate sacrifice. Those who have served in battle, who have witnessed the death of their comrades in arms all agree – the glory of war is absent when you stand in front of the open hole in the ground as a comrade in arms is lowered to his or her final resting place.
This Memorial Day Weekend finds the nation in a different place in its psychic life.
As a nation, we are very proud of our troops and of their heroism and the willingness of so many Americans carrying arms to put themselves in harm’s way to support the nation and give honor to our flag.
Mainly, we believe they are honoring themselves with such heroism and fearlessness wherever they serve today.
Everyone serving in Iraq and in Afghanistan is in harm’s way. A roadside bomb, a suicide bomber, a booby-trapped home - all of these have killed scores of brave Americans doing their duty and following their orders.
And so it goes throughout the centuries that Americans called to carry arms for this nation have been willing to put their lives on the line. And when some of the brave die, those behind them keep charging forward, taking their orders, attempting to gain the ultimate victory over perceived evil.
Waves of Americans moving forward, overcoming obstacles, donating their lives on the altar of freedom … on Memorial Day, we should stop for a moment and think about the dedication of the dead and of their sacrifice.
Those of us who have lost friends, relatives and loved ones on the battlefield in a half- dozen wars and conflicts during our lifetimes know the pain, the suffering, the endless echo of memory that brings us all to sadness.
Once a year, we are supposed to stop and reflect about those who gave their lives, those who no longer are with us for whom eternity has called.
Except for those who lost a loved one on the battlefield defending freedom, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season.
For those left behind, there are no more beginnings of summer – only the quiet of cemeteries and of loved ones leaving flowers or stopping to remember what came before.