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A Different Kind of Memorial Day

This Memorial Day stands out from every other Memorial Day I can remember in my lifetime.

Traditionally the unofficial kickoff to summer, Memorial Day weekend is usually a time when the summer’s biggest blockbuster movies are launched, the NBA playoffs are in full swing, the baseball season is ramping up, and some families hit the road to visit family or take a short vacation.

Not this year.

This year, Memorial Day feels different – for some less joyful, less relaxing. Flags are being flown at half staff to honor the more than 95,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus. Because of the pandemic, parades have been canceled, as well as the traditional gatherings to honor fallen military personnel.

After months of quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans are weary – economically and socially.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate is 14.7%, the highest figure since the Great Depression. Tired of being shut in and suffering from cabin fever, many Americans want to go back to work and regain the freedoms they took for granted before all of this began.

I guess the one unexpected side effect of the pandemic this Memorial Day is that it gives us time to reflect upon the reasons we celebrate this day – not the ones involving barbecue and beer.

Now we are thinking about a different kind of battle – one against a viral enemy, the reflections on the sacrifices of this most recent battle, and past battles have taken on added meaning.

Memorial Day has been a time for reflection and gratitude for the sacrifices of those who fought to preserve our freedoms on the front lines and the home front – in hot wars, cold wars, and now during pandemics.

Here are some poignant quotes to help us remind us of the importance of this day.

“…And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions, we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and final sacrifice.”  -Ronald Reagan

“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.” –G.K. Chesterton

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”  -John F. Kennedy

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” –St. Ambrose

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”  -Winston Churchill

This Memorial Day, as we reflect on those who sacrificed to preserve our liberties, let’s not forget now more than ever that we are one nation.

We will triumph over this newest attack just as we have triumphed over all previous attacks – as one nation.

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