Today is a day to remember the fallen, and the sacrifice made for our country. This is a day to honor that sacrifice by living a meaningful life. Huffington Post contributor John Roberts article (2017) Memorial Day: Reflection, Revelry, and Remembrance discusses the importance of tribute.
“As General George S. Patton so powerfully said just before the end of World War II, ‘It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God such men lived.’ On Memorial Day, we should take time to not only honor our country’s lost warriors but also stand alongside those who know too well the toll of war. Our best tribute to all of our brave service members – those who are here and those who have passed – is to ensure we recognize and embrace the freedoms their sacrifices have afforded us by living a happy life.”
To remember and honor the sacrifice, we need to keep the past alive, live a full life in the present, and prepare for the future.
It is important to honor those who served and died by keeping the past alive.
In this section I wanted to share stories from family, young adults, and veterans.
Vanessa Desiato’s blog post What Memorial Day Means to Me (2013) shows the importance of remembering the legacy.
“The military made my brother become the man he was meant to be. He wanted to help people and did that by joining the Marines, the only thing he felt he needed to do. My brother has shown me what dedication, honor, and respect are. He has shown me what it means to be a hero.”
In 2008, as part of an Eagle Scout service project Ian Murphy interviewed WWII veterans. The video is a synopsis (25 minutes) of 10 hours of interviews. Ian dedicated the video to “the memory of the men and women who served in WWII and are no longer here to tell their own stories.”
CBS Evening News (Feb. 23, 2018) segment Steve Hartman ‘On the Road’ shared the story of a 20 year old who started interviewing WWII veterans when he was in high school and his “mission to speak to as many veterans as he can” so the stories of those who gave their life would live on through the stories of their comrades.
It is important to find a way to pay respect to military service members who died while serving our country. We can learn about the legacy of sacrifice by listening to the stories veterans share about their experiences. Groups and individuals across the country have gathered stories, videos, articles, and other artifacts to keep the past alive.
The Library of Congress Veterans History Project “collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear from veterans and better understand the realities of war.”
This project includes personal narratives, correspondence, visual materials, a searchable database, and special sections such as Experiencing War account by four D-Day veterans sharing their individual stories. An opportunity for students 10th grade and above to contribute to furthering the project development is also available. For those who want a more personal face-to-face experiences the project shares ideas on how to engage your community.
In addition to the LoC Project the History Channel Century of Courage has videos and stories for review.
It is important to honor those who served and died by living a meaningful life.
In this section I wanted to share an educational program with the mission of bringing together young adults with veterans to share experiences and learn about the history guiding the importance of Memorial Day.
College of the Ozarks Patriotic Education program is an example of how to honor military service. The goal of this program is “To encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibility, love of country, and willingness to defend it.”
In 2009, College of the Ozarks began the Patriotic Education Travel Program, designed to provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for students and Veterans from World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The program pairs College of the Ozarks students with Veterans, taking them back to the battlefields where they fought. This Program honors Veterans and helps to educate the younger generation, instilling an appreciation for the sacrifices of American service men and women. (excerpt from website)
This program brings generations together for a shared living experience that honors the dedication of the US men and women who serve our country.
There are blog posts from all the trips sponsored by College of the Ozarks.
It is important to honor those who served and died by preparing for the future.
In this section I wanted to share some ideas on how to show your respect for the holiday that will encourage others to do the same. A list of a few suggestions include:
- Share gratitude…buy and wear a poppy flower, plant poppies in your garden
- Share understanding…find ways to encourage curiosity of the impact of history
- Share appreciation… extend conversations beyond surface experiences and delve deeper
- Offer assistance…care for others
- Support worthy organizations…give back by sharing talents to aid others
- Honor the meaning of the holiday…find ways to remember that we are here today because of the sacrifice of others
- Celebrate your freedom…find your way to honor the day.
For example: Fly a flag. Wear red, white, and blue.
Blooms to Blossoms
Wrapping Up & Looking Forward
As a lifelong learner consider how you would respond to the questions below.
|Questions to ask yourself||My response|
|How can I keep the past alive?||To increase my knowledge & understanding of history…|
I will read and view sections from the Library of Congress and the History Channel.
I will read the College of the Ozarks blog posts.
|How can I live a full life in the present?||I will apply information from my historical review to the Blooms to Blossoms purpose.|
|How can I prepare for the future?||I will help tell the story of remembrance in my virtual community.|