I hope you are enjoying the extended weekend. This week, we are exploring Memorial Day, it’s meaning, and how citizens remember those who gave it all so we could be free to celebrate. If you have lost a loved one or friend in service to our country, please know we are pausing to remember their sacrifice. Read on, and thank you for returning this week to Common Sense Civics and Citizenship page.
What do you call a person who does great deeds but receives little or no recognition for them? An unsung hero. All military members who gave their lives in the cause of our freedom certainly fit that definition. Many received awards for their bravery but they never made it to the ceremony. Their short lives are remembered by family for one or two generations, but the memory fades as families spread out to live all over the country.
A few of these American heroes make the news and then are forgotten because death in itself is difficult to grasp, let alone death by war, friendly fire, military accident, or in giving aid and comfort to a fellow soldier. On Memorial Day, the nation’s personal and professional business is paused to take time to remember our unsung heroes. Even though we celebrate the beginning of summer with fun activities, the numerous American flags around us remind us that a young fellow American died so we could be free to spend the weekend as we wish.
What will you do to remember our unsung heroes? As a child, my family always went to the cemetery to place a flower on the grave of my mom’s relative who died in World War II. I also marched in a local parade and we grilled out, but there always was the trek to the cemetery. I remember it being a place of peace there, yet a place of sadness, but mostly a place to keep the memory alive of those who have gone before me.
Today, I live far away from that cemetery. Parades aren’t what they used to be. My children and grandchildren don’t live close by. So, today I talked with one of my daughters about all of the military members who served in my family that I could remember. I chronicled for her what branch they were in, where they served, and their jobs. I contributed to an organization that visits the graves of fallen heroes in Arlington National Cemetery. (I wrote about this in an article at civicsandcitizenship.org called “On Memorial Day, Americans Remember”). I will also visit the nearby Vietnam Memorial in my town. These are small things, but they help me to remember our unsung heroes this Memorial weekend.
What will you be doing to remember our unsung heroes?
This is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. 🇺🇸