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Please pause for a moment and consider the real meaning behind May 31, 2021. I have asked several people over the last few days what the day means to them, and the answers I have gotten have varied from, “It’s the beginning of summer,” to “It’s a day I don’t have to go to work.” And I was reminded of something Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget, in time, that men [and women] have died to win them.”
May 31 is Memorial Day—a day set aside to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives defending our country and the freedoms we are so blessed to have today. Let’s not be the ones who forget or become complacent. With great thanksgiving, let’s pay homage to those brave souls.
Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day began in 1868 right after the Civil War ended to pay tribute to the thousands of fallen soldiers on both sides of “the war between the states,” and the first national cemeteries were subsequently created. After World War 1, Decoration Day included the dead from all wars involving American soldiers. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and established the last Monday in May as Memorial Day, and in 1971, the observance became a federal holiday.
We have a rich military heritage in Lawrence County. If you look at the Lawrence County Military Records located online at https://www.tngenweb.org/lawrence/lawrmili.htm, you will find a list of those from this area who served in every war from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War. Also, go to the Spanish American War Monument on our Historic Square and the Veterans War Memorial in Veterans Park. But when you visit those places and see those names, remember heroes never die. They live on through us, in our hearts and in our memories—the ones we know and didn’t know.
In the words of General George S. Patton, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
Therefore, on Memorial Day, enjoy family time away from the everyday grind and relax, but at some point that day, STOP, and take a moment to REMEMBER. Remember and be grateful for those who aren’t here to celebrate with their families because they sacrificed their lives to grant you the freedom to do so.
John 15:13 says, “For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends.”
The City Council and I would like to extend our deepest gratitude this Memorial Day and every day for all the men and women and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. We live free because they were brave!