What is Memorial Day? Is it the time to go shopping at the local sales at the big fancy mall across town? Is it time to go to the big sale at the Auto Mall or Dealership for that new car? Is it time to head to the beach with the family for fun and games?
Or is it time to just sit back and relax at home and do a little of nothing? Is that what this Holiday is all about? It is fun to do all of these things, and it is important to have this time to do what you would like to do. However, in the process of all of these things, stop and reflect on the reason we have this “Holiday.”
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was set aside to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. As time went along it gradually became Memorial Day across America and was set aside as May 30 of each year.
When the United States became involved in World War I, the holiday evolved to commemorated American personnel who died in all wars. For decades after it continued as such. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. The change did not go into effect until 1971.
What does this all mean to you and me as citizens of Newberry County? Surely most of us are off this day. Good! We spend time with family and friends. However, as every Memorial Day comes around and we make plans for the weekends activities we must reflect on what it really means to us.
If you go to the Newberry Memorial Park at the town square, monuments are there with names on them. We look at the names as such. Stop and think of them as individuals. Service members who had a mother, father, brothers, sisters, spouses and friends. Individuals who had plans for when they would return home. Family members who had plans for them as well. However, they did not come home. They made that ultimate sacrifice for you to be able to enjoy your families and friends.
Each year here in Newberry County we have a ceremony at the Memorial Square to honor our fallen comrades. We also recognize the Veterans who have passed away the previous year. As we do this for the ones who have passed away, we must reflect on their lives as well. They are the ones who came home. But they also gave up time from families to serve our county in the time of need to preserve the freedoms we have and sometimes take for granted.
So as you are on the way to the beach, lake, malls or are cooking out with family and friends, think of what Memorial Day really means. Think of the freedoms you have. The right to free speech. To read this paper. To drive to the beach without having to show your papers at check points.
I think about this most of my time.
And really should be all of my time.