Time to Remember
Picnics, camping, boating, beach, bar-b-ques, department store sales – this is the modern incarnation of what Memorial Day has become. Just like so many of our national holidays, Memorial Day is just another long weekend that has turned into a marketing blitz. It is unofficially the “kickoff” for the summer season.
The original meaning is much more. Originally the day was named “Decoration Day,” then eventually changed to Memorial Day; a day of remembrance for those who have died in the service of our nation and the people of the United States of America. The day is one that should still hold a dear place in our hearts whether or not we have known someone who has died serving our nation.
The numbers of those who have died are staggering. Over 650,000 have died in combat and over 526,000 have died in military service (Justice Department statistics).
Recently we in Frederick have seen the hurt on a real and local level with the return of Marine Cpl. Kurt Shea to his family after he was killed in action in Afghanistan.
Many of us have known someone or are related to someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice in wartime. But fewer of this generation have felt that same sharp sting and pain that our parents felt. Since the end of the Vietnam War, fewer than 5,000 have died.
Growing up essentially at the tail end of the Vietnam war, and serving in Desert Shield/Desert Storm – in Alaska – I have not had the personal experience of knowing someone who died in service; but, even so, I can’t help but be moved to tears every time I am in Washington and visit and visit the memorials to our fallen heroes.
This Memorial Day, if you can’t make it down to Washington – and are in town – swing by our own tribute to those from Frederick County by visiting Memorial Grounds Park (at Second and Bentz street) across from the William R. Talley Recreation Center – the former home of the Maryland National Guard – at the edge of Baker Park. Memorials in the park include – WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, the D-Day Invasion and a tribute to George Washington.
Or if you are out of town, ask a local resident if there is a local memorial. Take a moment of your day and reflect on what these men and women have given to truly keep us free.
Take the time to pay respects. Take the time to reflect on the lives our fallen heroes. They deserve that much.