We Hope You Have a Happy Memorial Day — Take Time to Remember the Meaning
It didn’t happen after the Revolutionary War.
It only happened after more American blood was spilled in war than had ever happened before and has ever happened since.
It happened after a war that saw brother fighting brother, sons killing fathers, and mothers burying large numbers of their families.
Without realizing he was doing it, President Abraham Lincoln may very well have begun this holiday when he travelled by train from Washington, DC to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to honor the dead who has fallen in the bloodiest battle of the war. President Lincoln’s speech, in part:
“We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”
“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
So it is that we are given the opportunity each year to recognize and remember with honor those men and women who have fought and died for our country. Most of those we honor have served their country in the armed forces; the Navy, the Marines, the Army, the Air Force, our brave Reserves and, at one time the Merchant Marines. We should also remember those Americans, volunteers, who have risked their lives and died in foreign lands and in the interests of our country.