Memorial Day is a day to remember the brave souls that paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives so that we have the freedoms and rights we are afforded today. These freedoms and rights are because of the men and women who fought, and those who paid with their lives to defend this great nation.
Memorial Day originated from a ceremony on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, NY, honoring local veterans who had lost their lives in the civil war by decorating their graves, amongst other ways of observance. The ceremonies were held the following year and then moved to May 30 in 1868 and established as Decoration Day in accordance with a General Order from General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic in remembrance of the 620,000 troops that lost their lives in the civil war. It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress and placed on the last Monday in May. (Continue Reading: The Origins of Memorial Day)
My family has a history of military service with my father serving in the Korean War and my uncle in the Vietnam War. I myself served six years in the United States Marine Corps, as well as two of my brothers. Now, three of my children are currently serving in the U.S. Army – so you see, we are a very patriotic family.
While serving my country I was prepared to give my life to defend this great nation, my family and my friends. Fortunately, I did not have to. The fallen may or may not have felt the same way and yet, gave their lives to defend our nation and the freedoms we often take for granted. I think of the many families who lost a loved one and feel for the parents, wives, husbands, significant others, children and other loved ones, and the pain they’ve had to endure. If you have lost someone defending this nation’s freedoms my heart goes out to you.
Memorial Day is a time to remember what others have sacrificed and how blessed we truly are, but sometimes I think we forget. So please, while you are at your BBQ or stuck in traffic heading to the beach, spending time with family and friends or simply enjoying a day off work, please take the time to remember.
Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day!
Randy was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 1986 and has been in the construction industry ever since. He began his career as a carpenter and worked his way to Superintendent, which he has remained for nearly 30 years, enjoying the challenges that being a super brings each day. Randy recently joined Graycor as Senior Superintendent, overseeing the safe and successful execution of projects in the Southeast.