Memorial Day is a day which unfortunately has lost much of its significance in our modern American culture. For far too many, it is a day for sales on outdoor accessories, it is the “kick-off of summer”, it is the weekend to open the summer cottage, or it is time to dock the boat at the marina.
Some well-meaning people think it is a time to honor our dead; all of our dead. Some think it is a time to thank all who served in our armed forces. But the roots of this holiday are to honor our war dead; those valiant men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
As I staged the photo I used in this post, I used the flag that draped my Dad’s casket, a couple of his World War II medals, and a photograph of him with my mother and my sister. This picture was taken in 1944, just before Dad shipped off to Belgium. Dad survived fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. In that month-long battle, on that frozen winter ground, 19,000 American soldiers lost their lives. These men gave all that they had for our freedom. Memorial Day is for them.
So regardless of where the fighting and dying took place, whether it be Ardennes or Afghanistan; and regardless of when it took place, 1945 or 2011, please take some time today to remember them.
Note: for those who examine the photo closely, they will note the old Ayer Fire Station in the background. My grandfather, Charles Whitney Miller, lived on Newton Street, the house is still standing. My dad was Donald E. Miller, my mom was Irene M. (Gionet) Miller, and my sister is Donna (Miller) Benoit.