Last year Emily Iles put together a salute to Memorial Day and those who made it possible. It’s our pleasure to re-post her work.
While you are enjoying the post and the day’s activities remember – all gave some but some gave all!
How will you honor service members this Memorial Day?
Memorial Day sprung out of the loss of loved ones during the Civil War – so while we have images in recent decades of soldiers traveling overseas to serve, it’s worthwhile to remember that some of the first Memorial Day observances were about our country’s reconciliation. In an era marked by civil wars and often-violent struggles in pursuit of democracy, it’s wise to remember that the freedoms we enjoy (even freedoms as simple as cooking up some great BBQ) came at a very great price.
Many of us will take time this Memorial Day to enjoy our families and good food, and appreciate the home – the traditions and idiosyncrasies and people and places – that our service members sacrifice to maintain. C.S. Lewis writes about patriotism as a love of home, and the belief that it is special and different from any other nation:
“How can I love my home without coming to realise that other men, no less rightly, love theirs? Once you have realised that Frenchmen like cafe’ complet just as we like bacon and eggs – why good luck to them and let them have it. The last thing we want is to make everywhere else just like our own home. It would not be home unless it were different.” (The Four Loves)
Different may even mean flawed. We spend a lot of time on this site pointing out areas in our government that could use some tending to. We look at ways of improving the economy, our children’s education, and making government more transparent. Sometimes the problems are deeply set. But Memorial Day reflects that for Missourians, there is no place in the world we prefer more than home. That love drives our criticism, and steels our resolve to make Missouri better. That love of home– whether Missouri, or New Jersey, or Wisconsin – is what we have in common with these soldiers we will never meet.
We’re a country rich in memorials for the legions of soldiers who gave their lives to secure our home and freedom, and the freedom of many other nations. We have glorious Memorial Day parades that turn all eyes respectfully and thankfully on our veterans. But even in some of the more typical, beginning-of-summer celebrations there is an opportunity to remember why our home is so dear to us, and so worth defending, and to remember the men and women who gave their lives.