|Earlier this month I had the privilege of chaperoning my son’s 8th grade class trip to Washington DC, where we spent seven days touring our nation’s capital. Our tour guides ran us ragged – it wasn’t a rare day when we woke up at 6:00 am and returned to the hotel by 9:00 pm.
We did have a special stop at the Pentagon, which was a definite highlight of the trip. The students had a very special visit with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dunford, who spoke to the students for more than 10 minutes and took the time to answer their questions. He reminded these students of the privilege of being born in America, the honor it is to serve one’s country, and the sacrifices our service men and women around the world make daily for our freedom.
He called upon these young men and women to seek opportunities to serve in their communities each day, as when we show our commitment to one another we help strengthen our nation, making the world a better place. He challenged the students to pause during their trip to DC to think of the story of our nation and those who have given their lives so we can have all the liberties we enjoy.
The students, in awe of meeting such an esteemed leader, took his message to heart. After the engagement, I observed many students tour the monuments with greater reverence, respect, and curiosity. On our final stop at Gettysburg, I was blown away by how focused these students were on learning the intricate details of this battle, as they recognized the significance this fight played in restoring our Union.
In fact, Memorial Day began as a remembrance of the Union soldiers whose lives were lost in the Civil War; today, Memorial Day is a day to honor all those Americans fallen in service to their country. In the spirit of General Dunford’s challenge to the students, we should pause today and consider how we can honor those who’ve given their lives for our freedoms.
Going a step further, I would also ask that you consider doing the following:
- Attending a Memorial Day Service in your community
- Stopping by a Veterans’ cemetery and reading the headstones, looking at the ages and names of those who’ve laid down their lives for their country
- Asking a Veteran about the impact their service has had on their life
- Watching a Memorial Service on TV and listening deeply to the words being spoke about our Veterans
- Touring a war museum
- Talking to your friends and family about the significance of this day to ensure it doesn’t get lost amidst any long-weekend plans
As for my family, we’re fortunate our church puts on a wonderful Memorial Day program and that our community hosts a Memorial Day ceremony. I’m proud to bring my children to these events, as it’s my way of ensuring that the sacrifices of our bravest warriors aren’t forgotten by future generations.
Have a wonderful, reflective day.
My best, Angie