Memorial Day Edition
Happy Memorial Day everyone. I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy a day off. As a quick note, this will be the last Motivational Monday that I do for a while. One of my wife’s friends, who reads this blog, has requested that I share more recipes that I make. As I want this blog to be about what you all want. I have taken it under consideration and have agreed that moving forward that Monday’s will be dedicated to some sort of cooking idea. My goal is to make it realistic for the average kitchen, and not 12 hour meal prep. I want real things that real people can make. Not go dig in the Amazon River basin, for a rare type of rose petal that only only blooms on the third Saturday in the month preceding Mars’s alignment with Saturn. So that is the plan for the future. But for now I want to talk about the past.
Today is Memorial Day. A day that has come to mean a day off of school, or the end of school. A day for mattress sales and camping in the beauty of the nation. But that isn’t how it began. The tradition of a day for remembering the fallen, those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, dates to before the end of the Civil War. In the early 1860’s, as the darkness of a total war that saw entire towns wiped clean of their male population, mothers, wives, and sweethearts placed flowers and decorated the graves of those they had lost. Think of it as Dia de los Muertos, but with Victorian sensibilities of decorum and specifically for those who had died in war. The tradition continued after the Civil War and as there was a precedent for this in both the North and the South, the day, though not a national holiday yet, was something that helped bring the two groups together again.
Every year groups like the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution, SAR, Sons of the American Revolution, the American Legion, and many, many others, venture into the thousands of graveyards around the country to plant flags and clean the graves of those who have served or fallen in combat since the holiday officially began in 1970. Though the day officially celebrates the fallen dead, it is also important to remember what those that died, perished for. They fought for a nation where anyone could live. A nation where all were entitled to the fruits of their labor. Where the idea of tyranny was abhorrent. And most importantly, where we could live in safety. They died for an ideal best encapsulated by John Winthrop in 1630. That the people who reside in this land might, “be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.”
I do not believe that this has ever been a naive goal, or something said out of ego. We do have in this nation the raw ingredients to be a shining beacon for the rest of the world. But it requires work, not just relaxing upon our laurels of past deeds. It requires us to be better than we were the day before. To always be striving towards this goal that should always be for us just out of reach. And if we, the civilian part of the population, can strive even a ounce of the dedication towards this goal, that those who have paid the ultimate price to see it done have. I know that tomorrow will be brighter, that future more glorious, than those who have hoped for so much for us, could ever have dreamed.
I encourage you reader, this Memorial Day, to not let the day go unmarked. During your barbecues this weekend, spare a thought for those that gave so much for you. If you have members of your family who have given, as we have not, to this nation. I want to thank you. We know that their sacrifice was not theirs alone. If you can spend a half hour in a cemetery cleaning or decorating, do. It will be rewarding. Do some family tracing. Are their members of your family that have served. If so, try getting involved with DAR and SAR. They are great programs and would love to welcome you. If those don’t work out. There is nothing to stop you going it alone. One of my friends would go and play his bagpipes at Arlington on Memorial Day, in honor of those who gave their all. Enjoy the festivities this weekend. Enjoy the sun if there will actually be any tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you guys on Tuesday for Trivia.
If you have family members who served and died for our nation, and would like them to be honored for their service, please feel free to leave names in the comments.