To me, it seems odd to say “Happy Memorial Day” because the loss of any life—even when the sacrifice secures our safety and freedom—is a tragedy.
I’m blessed in that many of my family members (and those of my husband) have served this great country, and all of them returned home to us. I currently have two family members actively serving, and I pray for their safety every day. I never want to have to memorialize them.
But there are so many families out there who aren’t as lucky as I am, who are spending today in deep mourning because of sacrifices their loved ones made for us. This suffering has been endured since the fight to form our country, and sadly, will likely continue into our distant future.
This is not a happy day. It is, however, an incredibly important day. While we watch parades and enjoy picnics, we should keep in mind why we’re free to do these things and honor the people who made it all possible.
I’m a writer, yet I have no words adequate to express my profound gratitude to and heartfelt sympathy for the families who have suffered the ultimate sacrifice. Instead, I will leave you with these words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poignant tribute to our fallen:
The Battle of Lovell’s Pond
Mr. Longfellow’s first verses, so far as known, printed in the Portland Gazette, November 17, 1820.
The war-whoop is still, and the savage’s yell
Has sunk into silence along the wild dell;
The din of the battle, the tumult, is o’er,
And the war-clarion’s voice is now heard no more.
The warriors that fought for their country, and bled,
Have sunk to their rest; the damp earth is their bed;
No stone tells the place where their ashes repose,
Nor points out the spot from the graves of their foes.
They died in their glory, surrounded by fame,
And Victory’s loud trump their death did proclaim;
They are dead; but they live in each Patriot’s breast,
And their names are engraven on honor’s bright crest.