Remember who we’re memorializing on Memorial Day


A precession of flags is carried by volunteers at the National Memorial Day Parade on May 28, 2012 in Washington D.C. The annual National Memorial Day Parade is an opportunity for thousands of patriotic Americans to come together and honor those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

By Lucas Oswald, Opinions Editor

Memorial Day draws to mind parades and marching bands, barbecue and funnel cakes, the American flag and closed banks. For many, it marks the beginning of summer festivities: a pre-Fourth-of-July, if you will.

While it’s great Memorial Day is celebrated so widely throughout the country, it is important to remember the roots of the holiday in the midst of the fun. We celebrate in remembrance of America’s military members who gave their lives in the defense of the nation. We celebrate in recognition of the losses suffered by the families of fallen military members. We celebrate because we can due to these sacrifices.

According to PBS NewsHour, more than 1.1 million American soldiers have died in the line of duty since the Revolutionary War. Our country stands on the courage and selflessness exhibited by these brave souls. Without them, America’s enemies would have defeated her long ago, killing the dream of freedom and liberty in its cradle.

Most of us can’t imagine the horror of losing a loved one in the line of duty, and for the families of active military members, this probably ranks number one on their list of fears. With 1.1 million soldiers comes untold millions of family and friends who felt these losses deeper than we ever could. They also sacrifice, in their own ways, for this country, supporting their loved ones in their wishes to serve and sharing them with the rest of us.

We celebrate for them as well, for those families that selflessly gave up time with their wives, husbands, daughters, sons, sisters and brothers so they could fight for us. They were the ones who suffered so the rest of us could prosper under the protection of their loved ones. This holiday is a much theirs as it is the holiday of the fallen.

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    By all means, have fun today. Laugh, party and enjoy the warm weather. Watch parades and fireworks because you can. Eat fried food and barbecue because you can. Spend time with family and jump in the pool because you can. The fallen heroes died so you could. You are free because of them. Be proud to be as American as the soldiers we commemorate on this day.

    But while you sit in a lawn chair by the side of the road, waving your little American flag as the parade marches by and eating funnel cake, remember who it was that gave you this moment. Then take the time to say a silent “thank you” in acknowledgement.   

    Thank you to all of our servicewomen and men out there, living and gone. We remember you always. This country owes you everything.

    Happy Memorial Day, America!

    Lucas is a senior in LAS.

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