Memorial Day is a solemn time to remember the sacrifice of our military men and women and reflect upon our obligation to those who do and have served our country. Our commitment must continue long after high-profile conflicts cease.
A “Soldiers Battle” is defined as a hand to hand encounter between opposing soldiers with little or no support. Too often today our returning soldiers are left to a Soldiers Battle to get the services that they have earned by virtue of their willingness to lay their life on the line for our country, our freedom and our liberty.
On Tuesday I met with a group of veterans to hear their stories. They served in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq. It was clear to me that veterans issues are our issues. Sending people into harms way carries with it a serious responsibility to support them before, during and after their service. For far too long the true dollar cost of war has been hidden – ignored and shifted to states, communities and worst of all to veterans and their families.
Concerns aside, the clear message from each and every one of them is sense of pride for their role in protecting and preserving the freedom, liberty and safety of the United States. They also spoke proudly of the service provided by their families; the moms, dads, children, spouses, the ones who wait, the ones who worry.
Memorial Day is a day to remember and a day to appreciate those who serve and their families, and as Benjamin Harrison noted while it is a day of memory and sadness it is also a day to celebrate and commemorate the bravery, strength and pride that fills the hearts of those who serve their country.
“I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. We mourn for them as comrades who have departed, but we feel the glory of their dying and the glory of their achievement covers all our great country, and has set them in an imperishable roll of honor. “ Pres. Benjamin Harrison Independence Hall Philadelphia Decoration Day May 30, 1891