When did we change the way we commemorate Memorial Day?

US Army Cemetery, cross
US Army Cemetery, cross

I arrived home with a sense of nostalgia and sadness. I had just returned from the annual Santa Clarita Valley Memorial Day tribute at Eternal Valley.

It was an emotional event as the families of the 12 fallen soldiers from Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., since 9/11 spoke of their sons and the futures that were taken from them; seeing the elderly veterans of past wars finely and proudly decked out in their respective military uniforms; watching the Condor Squadron fly overhead twice; and ending with the ever gut-wrenching 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps.”

As I sat there quietly, thoughts of my own family members who had come home safely after serving our country in World War II and Vietnam crept into my mind, and I thanked them in my heart for their sacrifices as other life events have since taken them from this Earth.

I remembered as a child growing up in a small Pennsylvania town, Union City, of the importance we attached to Memorial Day. The stores were all closed and there was a parade down through the middle of town, and I played in the marching band.

The VFW and American Legion volunteers would be handing out the red poppies, and everybody would give a small donation to obtain one as it was a proud symbol of the day.

We had the family and neighborhood “get-togethers,” but patriotism and remembrance were the themes of the day, for young and old alike. We also referred to it as its original name — Decoration Day — as the grave sites of the fallen soldiers as well as other family members were decorated as part of the tribute to show they were not forgotten.

It was tradition in the highest form, and unlike some traditions, we knew why we celebrated and honored the day.

As I drove home from today’s event, I was pleased to see that Lyons Avenue was lined with American flags from the start to finish of the street.

But after that, the scenery was pretty much devoid of any reminder of the day.

There were no American flags waving from vehicles as there were after 9/11, and I was dismayed at the lack of flags displayed in my neighborhood as I drove home.

It saddens and angers me that people can’t seem to get out of their self-absorbed world long enough to honor those who have sacrificed time, limb and life to give these same people the freedom that they apparently take for granted.

And why aren’t all of the stores closed on this day? If people can’t figure out what they need ahead of time to get through one day without a store, then they deserve to be out of whatever it is. It’s only one day, people — get over it, and thank the one true God that you live in a country where you have these wonderful men and women willing to make sure your freedoms are secure!

People have asked me what I think it will take to awaken the average American citizen — busy with everyday living, work and play — from his or her complacent slumber and get motivated to save this nation from the downward spiral that the progressives have us on.

Unfortunately, I fear it may be another terrorist attack, such as 9/11. Humankind is infamous for insulating itself from the harsh realities of life during the “good times” while the enemy sneaks in through the back door unnoticed.

Burying your head in the sand has never been a good defense. I know many people who do not want to have to add another juggling ball to their lives in the sense of keeping eyes on the directions our nation is taking through the elected officials that are there to swerve us. And the last thing we need is a president who insists on apologizing for us being the great nation that we are.

However, freedom isn’t free, folks. As Thomas Paine said: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” So let’s close the stores on Memorial Day, hanging on the door a big sign that says: “Closed — in honor of those who fought and are fighting for our freedoms.”

After all, a byproduct of that freedom is the capitalism that allows you to keep that store open the rest of the year.

All of us should be disciplining ourselves to take this one day a year to perform our individual sacrifice of commemorating both the dead and the living who are making much more of a sacrifice for us every day.

So hang that American flag proudly from your vehicle, home and business. Make it a family affair to put up decorations on this day. The “dollar” stores are filled with red/white/blue trimmings at reasonable prices, although many of the goods are “made in China,” and that’s a topic for another day. Stop those in military uniform to shake their hand and say “thanks.”

As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang, “Teach your children,” and remember the words of King Solomon: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6).

The children and youth are this nation’s future, and we are accountable and responsible to leave them with the legacy and tradition of honoring those who will forever be the backbone of this great country: the men and women who have lived and died for our freedoms.

Let us never forget or let our guard down, lest we repeat the mistakes of history that have already been written.

God bless the U.S.A.

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Author Nancy Tujetsch has a love for the military and is a strict Constitution defender.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Photo credit US Army Africa

 

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