In the United States, today is Memorial Day. Though it has been in "official" existence since 1868, many have forgotten the meaning behind this important American holiday. For some, this day is just that. A holiday. A day free of work or school and a time to kick back and relax. Of course, there's nothing wrong with enjoying this day, but I hope it can be much more for all of us and carry with it a much deeper meaning.
Memorial Day began as a time set aside to honor those who died in America's Civil War. After World War I, the day expanded to include all Americans who died fighting in any war.
It is easy to allow one's political beliefs to distract them from remembering the tremendous sacrifice so many Americans have made in the service of our country. You don't have to agree with a war in order to be grateful for those who went to fight it so YOU wouldn't have to! Those of you who have been friends of Straight Up Living for a while, know that it is my heart's desire that every person on this planet live in peace and for love to be the rule by which we all live out our lives. It seems that has never been the case however, and until that day comes war will continue to be a reality.
Let's not forget the meaning of Memorial Day. A day to not only honor those who have died in service of our country, but also to be grateful and humbled for the ultimate sacrifice they paid on our behalf. Consider this poem:
"God and the soldier all men adore, in time of trouble and no more.
For when war is over and all things righted, God is forgotten- the soldier slighted."
How unfortunate that this poem illustrates a reality and one that breaks my heart. Let's take the example that every soldier that has ever died for America has so vividly demonstrated. That we can love something and someone more than ourselves and be willing to pay any price to protect them. I would also add that we must remember those who are currently serving our country, for some of them will not make it home.
A National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause at 3pm on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to honor and remember those who have died in service of our country. Instead of just one minute, I would encourage you to expand that honor and remembrance to each and every day of the year.
A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (usually military), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. They are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. There are many traditions associated with these medallions and I encourage you to read up on them It's very interesting.
The challenge coin pictured above was given to me by my cousin. A retired Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps. As a highly decorated combat veteran, he knows what it means to lay down one's life for something or someone. I carry this medallion with me every day and I do so for a few reasons. One, it reminds me of my relative and the things he has endured in the service of America. It also serves as a reminder of certain qualities I wish to incorporate into myself. Qualities such as discipline, follow-through, dedication, and selfless service. This is one way in which I strive to put into practice the traits and characteristics exemplified by those whom we remember and honor on Memorial Day.