As Memorial Day and the weekend approaches, we reflect on those who have given their lives so that we could live with more opportunity.
Memorial Day is often a time of furniture sales, annual car liquidation events, and trips to the lake for the weekend. While we enjoy those past times, with half of our team consisting of veterans, Big Ideas wanted to bring this time back to the root of the holiday’s meaning.
This annual event commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. The purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades.
The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.
By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. – History.com
We take this time to share our gratitude for those who have put their country and our freedom first. Especially in this time of recent sheltering in place, we see the true luxury that our lifestyle is.
The United States of America is the land of opportunity, and we give thanks to those who have defended us, no matter the risk.
Read more about our veteran transition programs and support here.
Read a very powerful message from A Veteran team member Chris:
“The difference between Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day is simply defined by what I’m doing today. I am writing, breathing. I am alive, given a second chance to live out dreams that were nearly taken from me on Dec. 7th 2010. Veterans day is easily and happily celebrated because all you have to do is sign a piece of paper. Saying you will uphold the duties given to you by the United States government. While understanding the possibility of losing life and limb. Statistics show less than 1% of the military will ever experience direct enemy combat. And at 19 years old, you never believe any of this could happen to you. By the time I was 23, the difference between memorial and veterans day became very clear. On December 7th, 2010 the rest of my life changed in less than a second. Losing both legs and the majority use of my left arm, but still alive. I laid in a hospital bed for months. Receiving call after call with news of friends killed in action. Helplessness and guilt swelled. Why!? Why was I still alive when men, far better than I, were taken from this world. Some immediately and some slowly. What, or whom chooses which day your legacy will be apart of. One of the things that stands out the most from my combat experience, is bombs and bullets do not discriminate. To better sum it up. The difference between memorial and veterans day is life and death.”
One of my favorite poems to read every memorial day and really contemplate the sacrifices these men and women gave;
“Lest I continue my complacent way. Help me to remember that somewhere somehow out there a man died for me today. As long as there be war. I then must ask and answer am I worth dying for?”
Attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Although, to my knowledge the author is anonymous.