Memorial Day: A Letter To The Fallen

To those fallen heroes of freedom,

As I sit to write these words, the year is 2020 and today falls on the anniversary celebration of what we now refer to as Memorial Day. Simply put, it is the single day of the year that our entire nation stops to remember all of you that have fallen in the line of duty, serving and protecting the ideals of freedom that our great nation fundamentally stands for. On this day, the people of The United States of America are given a government mandated day of rest, in which we are to thankfully remember you and your sacrifice. A great many of us utilize this time to be close to our families and friends, we laugh, we love, we live and we try to remember. Many of us visit your graves. Yes, you have a grave, and you were given a proper burial, one befitting a soldier of freedom, we made sure to that.

american flag on brown grass field
Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Many of us even watch fictional recreations of the most momentous battles that have taken place throughout our nations history, many of which are the same battles you fought and died in. Ideally we do these things to honor you and your follow soldiers, sailors and airmen who have fallen in the defense of freedom.

It is very important to us that we remember you, many of your names have been etched into stone, written into books that have been reprinted a million times over. Your faces have been memorialized in pictures, many of which, thanks to our current technology, can be seen in living color. The one place I fear we are failing to uphold your memory in proper admiration is in that of our own conscious thoughts on any other day but today. Though your names and your sacrifices in the name of freedom will always be with us on a societal level. I do fear that on the individual level we fall far short. I myself have fallen quiet short of such things and it is not as if I am somehow so distant or removed from that battlefield that I can justify its absence. I myself have served in the armed forces of this fine nation of ours, my father and indeed his father before him, yet your memory is lost to me most days of the year I am ashamed to say. Unfortunately I see that same shortfall on a grand scale when I look at the nation as a whole. It’s as if we’re doing all the right things in the backgrounds of society but fail to bring it to the foreground as often as we should.

Some say that the price a society pays for freedom is in forgetting its cost. In other words, if freedom has been properly protected then wars to protect freedom seize to occur, in which case, after enough time has passed, the sacrifices that were made to secure that freedom fade from memory. A situation in which, if left unchecked, could lead to a repeat of history as the machine like cycle of war, peace and revolution continue to loop.

Whether or not that scenario is actually true in the everyday workings of the actual world, the sentiment itself is true. The people of my generation can objectively look around at the nation and society they inhabit and discern that it is quite simply, the greatest time to be alive in the history of humanity. I’m sorry to say that there is no way I could explain what the country looks like today in a manner that would make you believe me, so you’ll have to take my world for it. Part of the reason it’s a living paradise compared to the various times you all occupied is simple, society has been able to forget the horrors of war. Because of your sacrifices the nightmarish hellscapes of the great world wars seem like a reality just slightly adjacent to fiction. You all helped to win a glorious and virtuous victory for freedom, and we must never forget that it was at the cost of your lives, all of your lives, that we get to live in a blissful ignorance from just what it’s like to live and die on the battlefield. You paid for our freedom in blood, it is our duty not to squander it by forgetting you.

In great admiration and appreciation we send you our love and our thanks.

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