Memorial Day’s roots reach back to the Civil War, a day to remember the sacrifice of those have died in the armed services.



It has changed some over the years, as holidays do. Decades ago Congress moved it away from the traditional May 31 to a nearby Monday, creating another three-day weekend. We now think of it as the unofficial start of summer, when school is out and it’s time to fire up the grill, head for the lake, or maybe both.

Memorial Day’s roots reach back to the Civil War, a day to remember the sacrifice of those have died in the armed services.

It has changed some over the years, as holidays do. Decades ago Congress moved it away from the traditional May 31 to a nearby Monday, creating another three-day weekend. We now think of it as the unofficial start of summer, when school is out and it’s time to fire up the grill, head for the lake, or maybe both.

These are hard-working days, and amid a tough economy surveys point out – as if anyone needed reminding – that many are working a lot more than 40 hours a week and a lot of us don’t take our full vacation time. So a moment of rest – even three days of rest – sounds pretty good.

But it also is well to take at least a moment to reflect on why the nation marks even one brief day. It is to recall those who served and who sacrificed. Some were drafted, some volunteered. All gave for flag and country, gave for the sake of their buddies on the line, gave for the sake of those back home.

Most of the young people who go into the service come home just fine, having come through hard work, firm discipline, long days and sometimes long tours and moments of danger. They make friendships that last a lifetime.

But not everyone comes home alive and well. Too often, lives are cut short. How much promise and hope dies on a battlefield? Their sacrifice should not be forgotten.

Take a moment. Offer a prayer or an interval of silent reflection. Remind the young of what generation after generation of Americans has done. Remember their stories.