Many people joyously celebrate one of the most solemn days of the year for reasons completely unrelated to the genesis of the holiday.
Memorial Day, as we like to remind readers in this space at about this time every year, is a federal holiday meant as a way to not only to give thanks, but also to honor all of the men and women who have died in military service to the United States.
That’s called paying the ultimate price. Some people honor them year-round with bumper stickers, signs, tattoos and other permanent offerings of the following saying, or some variation: “All gave some, some gave all.”
Other than teachers, or some history buffs, there aren’t many who remember Memorial Day’s beginnings as Decoration Day, a way to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War.
There will be ceremonies and other remembrances throughout Harford County, particularly Monday, of those who have fallen. There are long established observances in Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace as well as other places. Wherever there’s a long-established American Legion or VFW Post, Memorial Day will always be observed.
Flags will be presented. Flowers will be placed. Taps will be played. Tears will be shed.
Anyone with the shred of a tie to a fallen hero, or a shred of patriotism or a shred of decency will feel more than a little gratitude and more than a little humility as they stand in the shadow of those who died protecting all Americans and all American freedoms.
In these troubled times, with some Americans ready to fight to the death for the First Amendment and others ready to fight to the death for the Second Amendment and too many others ready to fight just for the sake of fighting, protecting American freedoms is more important than ever.
When the president of the United States says voices in the media he doesn’t like ought to be silenced, when other elected officials demand guns ought to be confiscated and when far too many have taken intractable positions, many American freedoms are under siege.
It doesn’t take a news addict to know America has plenty of problems. Even with its problems, the USA is still a more appealing place than any other in the world. That’s why so many seek it out – legally or not – year after year after year.
No matter how risky it might be to consider such a trip, no matter how dangerous it is to get here and no matter how badly they may be treated once they get here, people keep coming. It’s been that way for centuries. And, most likely, it will stay that way.
The lure is freedom, and the better life those freedoms represent.
The earliest Americans, called the Founding Fathers by some, set forth those freedoms and Americans since have died in fights protecting them.
Remember that, if only for a moment Monday, as our grateful nation observes another Memorial Day.