Memorial Day is a day when most American families celebrate a three-day weekend together. It’s a weekend for taking the first camping trip of the year, do some fishing or maybe having a family picnic. The last Monday of the month of May is also a legal holiday. This holiday is called Memorial Day, which is when Americans gather together in a free society, unified with a common purpose of honoring uncommon bravery. 

Even if you are not a Gold Star family member, a battle buddy, friend or relative of a fallen hero, all you have to do is look around and you will see their Legacy. We have awarded medals to many soldiers, added their names to monuments and named buildings for them, to honor them for their bravery.  Nothing can ever replace the hole left behind by a fallen service member. We the People are their Legacy.

Regardless of the place or the War they fought, the purity of their sacrifice is without question. Young men and women lost their lives in order to make the freedoms of others possible.

More than a million U.S. heroes had their lives cut short while fighting in Wars since the American Revolution. A slogan that all soldiers believe in is “All gave some but some gave all.”

Memorial Day is a day that we honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage and their dedication and to say “Thank you” for their sacrifices. Memorial Day is a day when many Americans will stand among patriots, family and friends of those who have nobly served. Parades will march down our streets, guest speakers will honor those who have fallen and a moment of silence and Taps will be played for our heroes.

Service members we honor came from all walks of life, but shared several fundamental qualifies. They possessed courage, pride, determination, selfishness, dedication to duty and integrity.

Many of our service members didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight on distance battlefields and many didn’t volunteer. They didn’t go to war because they loved to fight. They rose to the Nation’s call because they wanted to protect a Nation that has given them so much.

Millions of Americans have fought and died on battlefields here and abroad to defend our freedom and our way of life. Today our troops continue to make the ultimate sacrifices even as we lose troops, more Americans step forward to say I’m ready to serve.

It is all too easy for those who have never suffered such losses to see past the holes that were left in the families and the Communities. That’s simply human nature. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men and women have died to win them.”

The idea for Memorial Day, originally call Decoration Day, arose from the Ashes of the Civil War.  At least 620,000 Americans, both Union and Confederate, had been killed and hundreds of thousands were maimed.

Homes, schools and churches were riddled with bullet holes.  Cities and towns were burned on our own soil.  The wars unprecedented carnage and destruction was on a scale not even imaginable a few years before, and changed America’s view of war forever.  From those dark times, it was the families who were honoring their dead that began to bring the light of reconciliation.

Although there were different versions of how Memorial Day began, one story goes that the grieving families, both Northern and Southern began decorating the graves of their lost Soldiers with flowers and wreaths.  These informal honors led to the first formal Memorial Day observance in Waterloo, New York on May 5, 1866.  Congress officially recognized Memorial Day as a federal holiday in 1887.  The last Monday of May is officially called and celebrated as Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is a day when all Americans gather to remember, to honor and to pay gratitude to those who have served our Country.  This is one small way we can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in freedom.

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are not forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act, a commission was formed and their charter is to  “ encourage  the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States.

God Bless America and God bless our fallen heroes!