When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to play a drum in a fife and drum corps, an ensemble that was influenced by the American Revolution in uniform style and song selection. Every Memorial Day we would perform at a memorial service that would begin in the local cemetery and wind up in front of the Topton VFW. Nearby, there was a plaque flanked by two cannons that commemorated all of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and contained the phrase “They Saw a Need.” That memorial has resonated for me all these years because of the courage and commitment contained within those words. Generations of men and women serving in the armed forces have gone on before us exchanging their lives of tranquility for ones of extreme bodily risk in order to uphold their country’s ideals and beliefs, of which the Stars and Stripes are an enduring symbol. Every active or retired armed services member that we encounter today deserves our deepest thanks.
This stretch of the calendar is filled with holidays that heavily incorporate the American flag including not only Memorial Day and Flag Day, but our nation’s birthday, the 4th of July as well. It is a perfect time of the year to reflect on what exactly the Star-Spangled Banner means to all of us. Even with the recent significant breakthrough in the War on Terror, the world can be a dark place where hope can deteriorate quickly. It is therefore reaffirming to think on the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice that were the building blocks of our nation, and what they mean to us today.
This holiday weekend, thank a veteran or active armed services member and honor the memory of those we are no longer able to thank.
Have a super Memorial Day Weekend!