Editorial: War dead sacrifices remembered

May. 24, 2014 @ 11:30 PM

Those for whom the remembrance was first created are long gone now. When we pause on Memorial Day, we inherently and appropriately think of the more recent defenses of the red, white and blue.

Offer thanks always when we see veterans. These women and men are the best of the best. They always have been, and they always will be.

Memorial Day is when we honor those who have fallen during the wars.

Its origins are from a war among Americans that took 620,000 of 2.4 million troops fighting. More than a million were injured. Our beloved Southern territory and population was devastated.

In many communities, springtime efforts were made to decorate graves and recite prayers in memory of those lost. By the late 1860s, Decoration Day was a staple in many places, though the practice was yet to have permanency.

World War I brought more Southern areas into the practice. States had holidays, and May 30 evolved as the date of choice for remembrance.

In 1968, Congress moved to make the last Monday in May a federal holiday and Memorial Day has been with us since.

Wars, conflicts and military actions involving our troops ultimately unite us, and remembering the fallen is a gesture for which we need to make time.

President Benjamin Harrison once said, “I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.”

The flag protocol seems right. Throughout the country on Monday, we’ll see our flags lowered in the morning and back at the top of the staff at noon for the remainder of the day.

Wherever we may be this holiday weekend, both in body and in spirit, take time to pause and remember. We haven’t risen to be the best country on the planet by coincidence, and we’ve taken plenty of shots from many directions along the way.

Remember those who gave their lives for what we so richly enjoy.