Column: As we’re moved by sacrifice, we’re moved to actionMemorial Day is a time to commemorate our fallen soldiers. For me, the phrase, “fallen soldier” marks the solemnity of the loss and amplifies the sacrifice.
Memorial Day is a time to commemorate our fallen soldiers.
For me, the phrase, “fallen soldier” marks the solemnity of the loss and amplifies the sacrifice. The men and women that we recognize this day served our country with integrity and honor. They held strong to the truths of our nation; that liberty, justice and freedom should be universal. In pursuit of these truths, they gave their lives.
As a nation we recognize this sacrifice and honor the fallen with monuments, memorials and ceremonies. The monuments are an important part of how we pay tribute to these brave men and women. Throughout Washington, each war memorial allows countless generations to experience and understand the gravity of the sacrifice. Additionally, and most importantly, these memorials convey the convictions of our nation.
Patrick Henry set a course for the nation when he famously proclaimed, “give me liberty or give me death.” Throughout the ages, we as a nation, have consistently stood together in pursuit of liberty.
Our commitment to these ideals has never wavered. It is for this reason that we gather each Memorial Day to honor those fallen soldiers who gave their lives for these truths.
No one has better captured the essence of Memorial Day than President Lincoln, when he admonished the nation that “it is 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.” The task before us is to honor the fallen through furtherance of their convictions.
We also honor the families of these soldiers. Certainly, their loss is unparalleled. One cannot help but be moved by an image of a soldier returning home for the last time, the family gathered around the casket, and the American flag intertwined in the picture. It is my hope that as we are moved by their ultimate sacrifice, we are also moved to action. These men and women died defending our freedom and our principles. It is the least that we can do, to protect their families, as they protected us.
We must not, however, placate ourselves with the notion that the government alone can care for these families. It is a partnership, and as Americans, we have the responsibility and opportunity to provide additional support. Whether it be through making meals and care packages, or simply visiting with these families, there are countless ways that each of us can reach out and show our appreciation and support.
The sacrifice of our brave men and women is something for which we are eternally grateful. As we celebrate Memorial Day this year, I would encourage each of us, myself included, to honor these fallen soldiers and their families with a simple act of kindness.
John Kline of Lakeville is a member of the U.S. House Ethics, the Education and Labor, and the Armed Services committees.