Never forget the true meaning of Memorial Day
So, what’s on the agenda for tomorrow? Barbecue? Road race? Maybe pick up a new pair of white summer shoes at that big sale at the Eastwood Mall?
Hmm. Memorial Day activities.
Listen, I’m all about picnics, 5Ks and even super clearances on new kicks for my favorite season.
But that’s not really what tomorrow is about; now, is it? It is about remembering.
Remembering men and women who aren’t here on earth anymore because they were brave … so brave, in fact, that they died in the line of military service.
It may have been in a war battle, it may have been in peace time; long ago or last week, stateside or overseas … doesn’t matter. They laid down their lives directly or indirectly FOR US, for other people in need of protection and support – for the good of mankind, in general.
It takes a special person to dedicate his or her life to the greater good and out of love and respect for freedom, democracy and respect for the dignity of humanity, in general. Sound familiar? To those of us who read the Bible, it should.
Because in the 13th verse of the fifth chapter of John, it states very clearly that Jesus taught: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
And, at the risk of irking those who refuse to see the parallel between this verse and the core tenets of the military, methinks it’s pretty obvious that (at least) a majority of our service men and women hold fast to the fundamental beliefs outlined in the world’s leading religions.
For we are, after all, “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” as the 1954 Congress asserted when they rightly revised Francis Bellamy’s version of the Pledge of Allegiance. For my money, that session of Congress got it right.
So, I’m going to edge out a little further onto that limb and assume that a large contingent of military men and women believe in God; which ultimately leads them to a life of service to help improve the quality of life for their fellow men and women.
It’s what enables them to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of honor, code and loyalty, to quote the infamous and fictitious Col. Nathan Jessup in the classic film “A Few Good Men.”
And more than a few good men and women have died in order to preserve our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness here in America and in many other places throughout the world for centuries.
And what matters is that we remember them today; they deserve at least that.
And in memory of so many whom I respect so deeply, I’d also like to give a shout-out to some of the military men and women in my life – and in my daily prayers – while they are here to know how much I admire and revere them:
Brad Smith, David Mauer, Terry and Jim Naughton, TJ Richards, Joey Swisstok, David Skowron, Brian McHenry, Pete and Jake Layshock, Pete “Drew” Sauer and one very special Marine friend of mine whose name I shan’t mention, per his request to never call him out publicly in my column.
He knows who he is – and he knows what great admiration and gratitude I hold for him and all of his brothers and sisters in the corp. I pray for them all every single day, along with every single member of the United States military, past and present.
Thank you. I will never forget what Memorial Day is intended to commemorate.
God Bless America and those who stand in her defense, always.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who reveres American service men and women. Contact her with stories about your favorite military members at firstname.lastname@example.org.