Why you need to set a reminder for 3:00 pm on Memorial Day
For as long as I can remember, Memorial Day has been a three-day weekend that marked the coming of summer. The weekend is busy with patriotic parades and picnics. Stores and table settings are fully decked out in the red-white-and-blue. Old Glory’s stars and stripes fly at half-mast until noon. Many spend the day bargain shopping, gathering with friends and family, or participating in outdoor activities. We laugh, we play and in general, we all enjoy spending our free time however we choose.
I am as happy as anyone to have an extra day off work to relax. Yet when I take a moment to reflect on why we celebrate Memorial Day, I think of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In Lincoln’s two-minute eulogy, there is a powerful call to action for all of us to remember the cost and value of our freedom.
“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
Memorial Day is a day set aside to honor the countless men and women who have died giving their “last full measure of devotion” for the freedoms we enjoy today. “We here” have a duty to remember those that gave their lives fighting for our country and our causes.
Those brave patriots fought for “us the living” to have the freedom:
- to vote
- to express ourselves
- to choose our faith
- to make decisions about our body
- to earn a living
- to start a business
- to innovate, create, and hope
- and so much more
This Memorial Day I encourage everyone to take a moment to remember the brave men and women who died in the defense of freedom. Let us ensure that the legacy of their sacrifice is never forgotten. Set your mobile device to remind you to pause for a moment of silence at 3:00pm on Monday, May 26th. Tell your friends to do the same! Imagine how fantastic it would be if the entire nation stopped their busy lives for a full minute observing the National Moment of Remembrance as a special tribute to our fallen heroes.
Gettysburg Address, Bliss copy
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
–Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863