The meaning of Memorial Day has a tendency to mean a wide variety of things to different people, from a day off from school or work (sometimes with pay), or a family barb-a-cue planned with the symbol of the beginning of the Summer season. Although these things may very well be accurate, there is a meaning, the true meaning, that must never be forgotten. Sacrifices have been made by many that we seem to take for granted. They deserve our recognition and respect for all they gave up.
It is the Military Soldiers that gave up their lives to serve. They are the true soul of our country. The biggest sacrifice one can give is their life for others and that is what they did. They must never be forgotten. May their souls soar high.
Who they were to others…
It is the spouses of those who’ve given all that are left behind with families to raise and nights alone without them, that now has no happy ending. They must go on with a hollow pain in their chest while they remain strong for their children. Their sacrifice is felt everyday, not just Memorial Day.
It is their service buddies that have managed to return only to find that life will never be the same. Many live with survivors guilt that tears away at the very fabric of their souls. Services they need to live on, of both physical and mental health, are a never-ending struggle to obtain. They are the forgotten and disrespected living among us, unable to understand why.
It is the parents of the fallen that feel the void with every breath they take. No matter what age they were, they were the child they loved. It is a scar on their soul that will be felt until their last breath. It is a pain that can only be accepted, but never erased.
It is the brothers and sisters who see them in the eyes of their children, wishing they could have been there to celebrate the milestones, to enjoy the get-togethers of family celebrations. The heartfelt conversations they now must have sitting by their gravesite instead.
It is the children who mourn the loss of their parent. Never able to seek their advice on life, especially during the difficult challenges they face. They will never see the nod of approval when they accomplish something that stirs feelings of pride. Those tears will remain with them through the many stages of their lives.
The friends who anxiously await their return to fill them in on things they used to chat about that will now only have a reflection of their memories and the last hugs they gave them before their departure.
Those are the ones who are the true meaning of Memorial Day and many will spend it with some time at the gravesite to pay their respects as a way to connect. Where they visit, coins are left on the headstones.
Penny – from those who stopped by to pay their respects
Nickle – from those who attended boot camp with them
Dime – from those who served in the Armed Forces with them
Quarter – from those who were with them when they were killed
So while you take the day to do your celebrating, please take some time reflecting on the Heroes of the true meaning and I urge you to take some time to visit a Soldiers grave and leave a penny and a prayer. Let’s show those left behind the respect of that reflection. My prayer is that every Soldier have a penny left behind on their stone. If you see other silver coins, don’t disturb them but rather say an added prayer for the one who left it.
They matter, every one of them. One of the worst sayings is a Soldier dies twice – one with their sacrifice, and again when they are forgotten. We must not forget them.
Celebrate today, but celebrate the life they gave for everyone. If you know someone who feels this day for who they lost, reach out to them, and let them know they matter.
Written by Melody Belliveau