There are times when it is difficult to look at the flag without just feeling overwhelmed. We are, after all, a nation that was born out of sacrifice, out of the willingness of men and women to offer their last breath of devotion to a cause greater than themselves. In the darkest days of trial and tribulation, when the tapestry of this Union tore, and threatened to rip it apart, they stood with courage as a beacon of light and hope. When the world set itself ablaze in the fires of War, with tyranny and oppression, hatred, death and destruction ripping our innocence from us, they offered themselves as a ransom for the victims of despair. It is a tradition that remains today with the fallen of each War and Conflict, with each struggle that lays before us as they stand in defense, willing to live and to die under that flag for our freedom.
These were people’s fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and when we needed them most they answered the call, giving freely and without reservation, without a question of whether it was worth it or not.
Today is Memorial Day, a time when we honor those who have fallen, those who stood on the threshold and crossed so we could partake in the freedom we enjoy today, and make no mistake, because of them we are free. We may not always agree with the direction our Country is going in, but we can speak out because of them. We may not always like our politicians but we can replace them because of them. We may complain about aspects of our life, but we have the chance to make it better, we have the chance to rise above, because of them. In that sense Memorial Day doesn’t just begin and end on May 29th, 2017 or May 30th, 2016 or May 28, 2018. Whether we recognize it or not, we live it each and every day of our lives as we realize we are free to think, to do, to be.
I don’t want to take away from the day that we have to honor our fallen or the sacrifices that thy have made. They are, and always have been, the best and the bravest that we have to offer and they bought our freedom with their blood. We cannot begin to honor their sacrifice for liberty enough for all they have given us. What I want to say is that as today fades into the next, and the next after that, do not let the sacrifices they have made fade to the back of your mind. Honor them each day, feel the deep and abiding gratitude for it each and every day, letting their light shine your way. Look to the flag that they held high with their last breath and see their faces, hear their names, remember the burden that they took on. Give freely of yourselves, and offer of yourselves, knowing that we live in their legacy of love and hope.
We are a people who owe so much to those who have fallen. The least we can do is to dedicate our lives to honoring them by honoring and cherishing what they were willing to offer themselves up for.
Keep safe, keep free,
Wyatt McIntyre, 2017