As citizens of the United States of America, we have been endowed with numerous privileges. Anyone that stands proud as an American, can do so because of the men and women of our military who endured the greatest sacrifices—some of them unto death. In doing so for their loved ones and their posterity, they equally secured the blessings of liberty for you and yours!
Recently, the U.S. Mint introduced The American Women Quarters Program, featuring famous women, such as astronaut Sally Ride and poet Maya Angelou. The first two coins are scheduled for circulation in 2022. But, as Memorial Day weekend approaches, I can’t help but to think about the women in our Armed Forces who have been killed in war since September 11, 2001. To most people, both here and abroad, these women remain nameless, with no commemorative coin to remember them by. At last count in July 2020, the Congressional Research Service reported that 173 servicewomen who had been deployed to Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Syria, bravely fought and gave their lives to defend ours; many of them mothers, several of them wives; all of them daughters.
It is with profound gratitude that we pay tribute to the men and women of the armed forces—particularly to our fallen heroes. In the words of Congressman James Garfield, “We do not know one promise these [service members] made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
Whether you have a beloved service member in your family or not, here are ways to remember our fallen heroes and why it matters.
- Wear a red poppy and/or the colors red, white, and blue. Wearing a poppy dates back to September 1920, when the National American Legion voted it as the official U.S. national emblem of remembrance. Military families have been wearing them since, to honor the fallen, as well as the colors red, white, and blue (not the flag). Wearing patriotic colors is respectful, but to sport the flag itself is disrespectful to many military personnel, their families and others.
- Raise a flag at half-staff/half-mast until Noon. In stark contrast to Independence Day, Armed Forces Day, Flag Day, Veterans Day, and other significant holidays when our beloved Old Glory flies high, this day we raise it at half-staff or half-mast until Noon as a symbol of mourning, honor, and respect. We then raise it all the way up to the top for the remainder of the day. Also, we do not fly our flag in bad weather, except for an all-weather flag.
- Make a donation to our veterans. There are many great charities that honor our military, such as the USO, Disabled American Veterans, Wounded Warrior Project, Helping the Home Front, Hope for the Warriors, and many others. Click here for a comprehensive list.
- Join a local Memorial Day parade or event. Amid the pandemic, few cities held events to commemorate our highest heroes; though many did virtually. This year, as restrictions are relaxed and lifted in many states, local events will resume. Check your local listings! If you live in South Florida, here are a couple that you can attend.
- Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony presented by Bergeron Rodeo Grounds & Davie Arena. The parade begins at 10:15 AM at the Davie Fire Administration building and ends at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds.
- Air and Sea Show at Lummus Park in Miami Beach, May 29-30, 2021. The sea events begin at 11:00 AM; the air events at Noon. Additional military displays (Action Zone) along Ocean Drive, between 11th and 14th streets will open at 10:00 AM thru 6:00 PM.
- Pray for the U.S.A. At 3:00 PM local time (wherever you are) on Memorial Day, stop for the National Moment of Remembrance. No matter what your faith or personal belief may be, at the very minimum you can pause for a moment in honor of our heroes and in support of their surviving families.
- Renew your mind. Please stop saying, “Happy Memorial Day!” This is disrespectful and hurtful to the family and friends of those that lost a loved one in service. Traditionally, this day marks the beginning of summer and the long weekend sparks barbecues, family picnics, beachside fun; and yet, even if you’re not patriotic, it is important we be mindful of those who may be mourning.
Whatever we do this year on Memorial Day, let us remember our greatest heroes with a heart full of gratitude and hands raised high above. We are not a perfect nation by any means, but as “one [Nation], under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” may we go forward and remain free!
Home of the FREE because of the BRAVE!
"The United States and the freedom for which it stands—the freedom
for which they died, must endure and prosper.
Their lives remind us that freedom is not bought cheaply.
It has a cost; it imposes a burden."
~ Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day speech, 1982
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