Memorial Day Blog from Keith Simpson

Blog Memorial Day 2017 from Keith Simpson
Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? Obviously for the cookouts and get together’s, right? Not really and we all know that. Memorial Day was widely observed in 1868. The celebration commemorated the sacrifices of the Civil War. The proclamation was made by General John A. Logan. Directly following the proclamation, participants decorated the graves of over 20,000 graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers.
After World War I, the day became a celebration to honor all who died in all of America’s wars. Memorial Day became an official holiday in 1971.
President Ronald Reagan is credited with reviving Memorial Day and the practice of honoring it. President Reagan gave one of his most famous speeches at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day 1986. I will print the first few lines but I encourage you to look up the speech and read it. It’s very powerful. It begins with “Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the family and remember”. The speech is one I recommend everyone reading. It’s a moving speech outlining some of the great feats of courage by America’s ordinary men and women.
Memorial Day is special to me and to many of my friends and I know to countless others. Some of my friends get a little agitated when someone comes up to them on Memorial Day and thanks them for their service. The reason is Memorial Day is to honor and remember our fallen. Nov 11 every year is Veterans Day. That is a holiday that honors all of America’s veterans whether they are still on active duty, retired or just served a couple of years. That’s what I call “My Holiday”.
For me, Memorial Day brings those memories of my friends that gave their lives in the service for this great country. They willingly paid the ultimate price. It’s an emporia day for me. It brings tears as I sit and write this. Tears for my fallen friends. Men that left moms and dads without a son. Men who left wives with no husband and left children with no dads. They did it willingly. I will say that over and over. They did it for people they would never meet. They did it for Democrats, Republicans, independents, liberals, conservatives, supporters of the wars and the protesters. They even did it for the people who hurled insults at them and called them names. What those people don’t realize is freedom is not free. They get to protest and disagree with things because of those men and women who defend those freedoms and gave their lives for it.
I have snapshots of these men in my head. When I close my eyes, I can see them. Smiling faces, some not smiling or just doing what they did. Every day when they went out and climbed into those aircraft, they did it willingly, never knowing if today was the day. Even if they could have known somehow, they would have done it anyway. They loved being soldiers, they loved being Apache Pilots and Kiowa Pilots and they loved their country. They also loved their families dearly. We owe them so much. We owe their families so much. Memorial Day is that day to pay a little of that debt.
This coming Monday, please take just a few moments to remember all those men and women who gave all. Be with your families, have the BBQ, go to the lake and all the other things you can do on this holiday weekend. By doing all those things, you are honoring them because, without the sacrifices of so many, none of us would have the lives we have and the freedoms we have.
In closing, if you ever get the chance to go to Washington, DC and Arlington National Cemetery. Visit the tomb of the unknowns and the changing of the guard. If you’re not moved, you can’t have a heart. It’s sobering to look across Arlington at the simple white crosses that mark each grave and the enormity of it. It’s ok to thank veterans for their service but when you do that, just keep in mind who we are really honoring. I miss every one of my friends.
Of course, I will leave you with some scripture. Have a happy, safe Memorial Day weekend and if you’re able, come to the 10:10 service at the Cokes Chapel flagpole. Thank you and God Bless!
1 Corinthians 16:13. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
Proverbs 10:7. The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.
John 15:13. Greater love has no one than this, that one day lay down his life for his friends.

One Response to “Memorial Day Blog from Keith Simpson”

  1. Thom McCague says:

    Really nice blog Keith

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