Memorial Day Isn’t a Bargain

It’s not about cookouts and television sales!

As with many holidays, we’ve strayed far from what Memorial Day is all about. What began as Decoration Day has morphed into the unofficial kickoff of summer. Rather than recognizing our fallen heroes, we fire up the grill and look for bargains. Mattress stores “celebrate” Memorial Day by offering huge discounts on bedding. Electronics stores want you to super-size your television as part of your celebration.

But that’s not what the day is all about. Memorial Day is, at its core, a somber occasion in which the graves of those killed in battle were decorated with flowers. Memorial Day is about recognizing the sacrifices of those who lost their lives so you and I can live in freedom.

Our country isn’t perfect, but there is no such thing as a perfect nation. We’ve strayed from our moral foundation. Many of our veterans have lost their lives not in battle, but in medical facilities charged with caring for them. There is much room for improvement.

Many families won’t have a cookout or buy a television today. They will go to cemeteries to place flowers or flags on headstones in honor of a man or woman who sacrificed everything so you and I can enjoy today. I am one of those veterans who lived to see my contractual commitment come to an end. I was able to go to college and earn my degrees with the help of programs designed to assist veterans. Yet, today isn’t about those of us who are sill living, still cooking out, still shopping for televisions. Today is about those who gave it all.

So, as you celebrate this Memorial Day, take a moment to express gratitude for those who gave their lives for our freedom. Our country has problems, but I choose to see something other than the negatives. I choose to see the dedication of those who believed in our liberty so much that they willingly gave their lives to defend it. They loved our country—faults and all.

Maybe this Memorial Day we should look for reasons to defend our nation. Generations before us have. It’s our turn.