By COMMANDER LEW HARDING
Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. The collective consciousness of all who love our country is acutely aware of the loss of our fellow citizens during wartime. On this day, each year, we remember.
The freedoms that we take for granted were paid for by the lives of others few of us know. On Memorial Day, we honor them all and offer our deep and profound gratitude for their service so nobly done and for their sacrifice. By honoring them we preserve their memory and mourn their loss.
In many cases, these men and women are unknown except to their loved ones. They made the greatest sacrifice possible, giving one’s life that others may live in freedom.
They did not choose where they served or what foreign policy they enforced. The death of any one of them is a loss to us all.
On this Memorial Day, pause for a few minutes of personal reflection. Attend a commemorative ceremony. Place a flag on a gravesite. Take part in a patriotic program. Do your part. They did theirs.
For this one day each year, our county pauses to remember our brothers and sisters who gave their lives in military service. Our history is filled with their heroism, their idealism, and their loss. They gave all their tomorrows to ensure that ours would be free.
Generations of Americans have been inspired by their heroic actions in support of our great country. There is nothing more powerful or reverential than walking in a veterans’ memorial park among the white crosses and reflecting on the courage and sacrifice of our fallen warriors. We grieve for the sadness, the feelings of pain and loss in their families. May we never take for granted the blessings of freedom. And, may we never again sacrifice one warrior, not one, in some politician’s trumped-up cause so the painful memories of Memorial Day will be healed and our hearts can again be lifted up in love, peace, joy, and forgiveness.
We do not honor those who lie beneath our soil when we reply with accommodation to those who would have us turn on each other. Our country has been blessed by their sacrifices. We, as a nation, must not dishonor them now in our hearts with hate.
On this day and every day, as we remember the names of the fallen, and honor their memories, let us renew our commitment to them and to each other. God bless our country and God bless those who gave so much to pass the torch of freedom.
At this years’ service on Monday, May 28, at 11 am, the Yellowhill Veterans Memorial Cemetery will be decorated to honor the fallen. A bell of remembrance will toll to honor each Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians service member who did not return. Freedom comes at a price and that price is very high. For those of us that remain, it is our duty to ensure that all those men and women, past and present are honored for their service.
On Memorial Day, at 3 pm local time, please join your fellow Americans in observing 60 seconds of silence. This National Moment of Remembrance honors U.S. service members the world over, who gave their lives in the line of duty. Thank you.
Harding is the Commander of the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143.