image from nationalharbor.com
It’s always nice to have a three day weekend. And since Memorial Day always falls on a Monday, this is one of the holidays I always look forward to.
But Memorial Day isn’t just about having one more day of freedom from work. It’s about freedom itself. More importantly, it’s about the people who’ve fought and continue to fight for our freedom.
My father and mother were both part of the Philippine military, my grandfather fought in World War II as part of the USAFFE and my grandmother was part of the rebels who fought against the Japanese invasion in World War II. Thankfully none of them were injured in battle, but others were not so lucky.
So this Memorial Day, I remember and give thanks to the men and women who have died while serving in the armed forces, not just of the US, but of every country as well.
War is a costly affair paid with the lives of soldiers. And while we cannot bring back the dead, we can at least remember what they died for and be thankful for their sacrifice.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow caught the very essence of their sacrifice when he wrote a poem about Memorial Day (then called Decoration Day).
Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
Nor sentry’s shot alarms!
Ye have slept on the ground before,
And started to your feet
At the cannon’s sudden roar,
Or the drum’s redoubling beat.
But in this camp of Death
No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
No wound that bleeds and aches.
All is repose and peace,
Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
It is the Truce of God!
Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
Your rest from danger free.
Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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