Memorial Day has many meanings to many people. To most, it is signals the beginning of summer. Locally, we have a plethora of graduation parties as seniors graduate from high school and college. To our older generations, it was known as Decoration Day; a day to decorate the graves of loved ones and veterans. Today, the holiday is designated as a memorial to all veterans, living and dead.

Today, while enjoying a day off work, with your family and friends, take time to remember those who have fought and died for our freedoms. We have many more veterans now than in years past, as more of our service men and women return from duty in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other lesser know locations. Although the exact locations of deployments of U.S. forces is not readily available, we do have troops serving in the Balkans, fighting pirates off of the east African coast and among the island of Indonesia, and assisting the U.N and NATO all over the world.

Enjoy your extended weekend. Remember those who have served to give you this holiday. The point of the holiday is to rejoice. Celebrate our freedoms. Celebrate that we have a country that has, from the first moments of its existence, been populated by brave men and women willing to stand up and fight for family, country and justice. Even if you are anti-war, remember that these are people willing to protect everyone in our country. We have never had a conflict where we as a nation choose to participate or stand aside that has not had supporters and dissenters. This day is not a day to debate the merits or drawbacks of any military action. This day is for those who have not argued what is right and what is wrong. This day is for those who stepped up and did the job, with or without cheers or support.

If you visit a cemetery to decorate a relative’s grave, look around. That the chance to see who it was that made this day of peace and security possible. There is not a cemetery in America that does not have a headstone for a veteran, either fallen in battle or fortunate enough to have made it home to live life and die at an old age. These are not the ostentatious people who need attention. These are the people who do their duty, quietly and with dignity. Let your actions and appreciation be a memorial to your children for all who serve.

It is the VETERAN,

not the preacher,

who has given us freedom of religion.

 

It is the VETERAN,

not the reporter,

who has given us freedom of the press.

 

It is the VETERAN,

not the poet,

who has given us freedom of speech.

 

It is the VETERAN,

not the campus organizer,

who has given us freedom to assemble.

 

It is the VETERAN,

not the lawyer,

who has given us the right to a fair trial.

 

It is the VETERAN,

not the politician,

who has given us the right to vote.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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