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Memorial Day, begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events.

 

The first known observance of Memorial Day was in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865; freedmen celebrated at the Washington Race Course.  African Americans founded Decoration Day, now referred to as Memorial Day, at the graveyard of 257 Union soldiers and labeled the gravesite "Martyrs of the Race Course" on May 1, 1865. Black Charlestonians created this American tradition.

 

The remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to this would be incomplete without remembering what it was they died for.  Every person who has served in the Military of the United States and is no longer with us as a result of that service, did not die in vain.

 

Those who join the military, do so out of a deep respect for this nation and the idea of service to their fellow man.  In every form of “basic training” the idea of your buddy is ingrained into your psyche.  It becomes not about your well being, but about watching out for your buddy.  He will save your life, as you will save his life.

 

The love for this nation and its ideals of liberty and freedom pervade their minds.  The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States, The Bill of Rights..  These are the documents which outline and declare just exactly what this nation is all about.

 

What has America become?  We have become merely another nation among many in this world.  America is no longer a nation to be revered, to be looked up to, to view as an example. Some of the factors leading to concern about the well-being, nay even existence, of self and family with little regard to the health and prosperity of the nation are the unemployment rate, the climbing national debt, skyrocketing energy prices.

 

Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I am quite sure, would not be very happy with where this nation is and where it is heading.  They died for liberty and freedom, not statism and control. 

 

While celebrating with a cookout or other individual activity today, remember the corporate sacrifice of so many and the reasons they were willing to make it.

 

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