This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend when we remember, reflect and pay homage to all the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom and prosperity we call the American way of life.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It came into being after the Civil War as a day set aside to honor the Union war dead, but actually Southern ladies organizations and school children had decorated the graves of the Confederate dead even as the civil war was going on.
Each area had its own date to decorate and though they may have been different they were all usually in the month of May.
In the 20th Century the dates were solidified and held to honor all America's war dead and the name was changed to Memorial Day. It marks the beginning of summer, with Labor Day marking the end.
I can't think of any place on earth where the deep respect American Patriots have for our heroes is as well represented as the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
This solemn, dignified ceremony is symbolic in honoring all who have given their lives in the service of this nation, whether their remains are buried at Arlington, Flanders Field or any number of Veterans Cemeteries around the United States and the world.
Patriotism has always come easy to me and has been an essential part of my life since the earliest days of my remembrance.
I remember the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, I remember D-Day, Iwo Jima, the taking of Berlin and the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Japan and I remember the day our long national nightmare was finally over.
I remember Korea, Viet Nam, and the Cold War and of course our wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and I have always had a special place in my heart for the warriors who stood between my family and the enemy.
I intend to take the time to stop and reflect this weekend on the price America has paid to remain the land of the free and the home of the brave and the men and women who have bore the brunt of that price and paid for our freedom.
I want to remember the families who have had to face up to the fact that the empty place at the dinner table will never be filled and the empty place in their hearts will be there all their lives, and I will marvel at the kind of strength and courage it takes to pull through such a tragedy.
I want to remember the young men who stormed the beaches and left their Iife’s blood on the sands of Normandy on D-Day.
I want to remember men who fought through the jungles of Asia to bring the Japanese Imperial army to its knees.
I want to remember those who manned the foxholes in Europe and chased the Nazis all the way to Berlin.
I want to remember the warriors in Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Afghanistan.
I want to remember and pay honor and homage to those who put their lives on the line for this nation from the Revolutionary War to the present day.
And to the men and women who have served and those who are still serving, I humbly thank you, I support you and I salute you.
Originally posted Friday, May 25 at 5:12 a.m. EDT. Reposted May 28 at 8:35 a.m. EDT
Photo from 2012 Rolling Thunder by Michelle Humphrey.