What is Memorial Day? Most now think that it's the unofficial start of summer. It's a three-day weekend. It's the time to get together with friends and family to barbecue brats and drink beer.
Well, for most of the younger generation, that's all that Memorial Day represents. Heck, it even means those same things to me too.
But I also know why we really have a Memorial Day and what it really represents, and that real meaning should never be forgotten. In today's wave of cancel culture, rewriting of history, and disrespect for patriotism, the military, and the American flag, I can see how the younger ones are being denied the true meaning of one of our most sacred days. And it's not their fault. They're only the result of what they are taught and being told. It's really our fault. It's our fault because it is our responsibility to educate them, and we have become lazy in our job to do so.
The real Memorial Day started in 1865, just months after the Civil War had ended. It was started by a group of former slaves in South Carolina to honor those who had fought and died to free them from the bonds of slavery. It eventually grew into a day on which we have chosen to honor and remember all those who have both served and died in the military service to this great country.
Memorial Day was a big day in my family, a military family, going all the way back to my ancestor, Asa Emerson, a Minuteman, who fought in the battles of Lexington and Concord. It was also a big day in my little hometown with the parade and then procession to the cemetery, where all the Boy Scouts had placed flags on all the grave markers of those who had served. And we all listened to the speeches and then held our fingers in our ears as the honor guard raised their rifles and fired them into the air while Taps played mournfully, from somewhere distant in the cemetery. Many families in small towns still observe Memorial Day in this way, but unfortunately, many also no longer do.
Yes, Memorial Day is the kickoff for summer, and it's a time we choose to get together with friends and family, but it really, truly is much more. And when you are laughing and joking with your friends or about to take a bite out of that hot dog, at least stop and think about giving thanks and honor to all those who served, fought, and died so you could enjoy the privilege their efforts and sacrifice have provided for you.
And then, take just five minutes to tell your children what Memorial Day really is all about. It is important. They have to know. It is your responsibility. Be that guy.
Happy Memorial Day to us all. Thank you to all who are still here and to all those in heaven, who have given to me and my family, the precious gifts of freedom and liberty. May God bless them all, and
God bless America.