I want to challenge people to think about Memorial Day and its three-day weekend. The fact that we celebrate this day of remembrance as a holiday says a great deal about American culture.
Some cultures have a focus on the past. Individuals in this type of culture often live out their lives bearing the shames or glories of their family history.
Other cultures live in the present. The average individual isn’t concerned with the past beyond a few stories and they are confident the future will appear in its proper time without their active effort.
The other focus of a culture is in looking forward. This is the American culture. We plan, we build, and we work to create the future that we want to see. Individuals in this type of culture often delay their immediate personal gratification for a greater reward later.
I point out these different cultures, not to show one is better than another, but to remind the reader that there are differences.
Here in America, you find a place where the average person works towards promotions and retirement, people band together in organizations which seek to promote improvement in knowledge, living conditions, and other noble causes. You see a culture where individual merit is recognized and rewarded and yet the individual becomes part of the whole.
Memorial Day is a time where we are to pause in our drive to build the future and to take time to honor our past. We understand that today’s world is the result of the efforts and labors of people in the past.
Every veteran marching in a parade, every American Flag displayed beside a stone marker in thousands of cemeteries across our nation should cry out as a reminder to every citizen that our liberty and our culture has always come at a high cost.
Some veterans gave of the valuable time that makes up their lives. They suffered no horror or injury; they just did their duty during peacetime. Others performed their duty and suffered emotional, spiritual, or physical injury in the conflicts our nation has engaged in. Some gave up all they had and laid down their lives for their country.
It is fitting and appropriate that all Americans take a moment this weekend and remember the reason for Memorial Day. Whether you are at the beach, the lake, or at home; no matter if you are alone, surrounded by family, or have gathered with thousands of like-minded citizens; take a moment to consider why we have Memorial Day. Remember to say thank you to a veteran and also to thank God for the culture that has inspired the men and women of American to sacrifice so much to ensure that we have a Memorial Day to celebrate.