Memorial Day - A Time to Remember

©2004 Sharon Hughes 


What makes our country the land of the free and the home of the brave? 

The month of May has its share of holidays and observances such as Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day, V-E Day, the National Day of Prayer and Memorial Day. Note with me three of the five have to do with our armed forces.

What do you think of when you think of our armed forcesespecially on Memorial Day?

I think of the sacrifices of life and limb given for our country, for our freedom…for me. I think about my husband’s experiences in Vietnam, the feelings of missing him, concern when he was wounded and joy when he came home.

I pull out the album we have of Duane's year in Vietnam, as well as pictures I have of my father during WWII and the Korean war. I especially like the one of him with his handle-bar mustache…something to do during the long months on board ship. I also value the souvenirs we have of Duane's great, great, grandfather who fought in the Civil War.

I think about the documentaries and movies I’ve seen, both old and new, that put images to the text I studied in school of the wars our young nation fought in to secure freedom both for us and for others, even making our enemies our friends.

And, of course, I think about September 11th and the war on terror we find ourselves engaged in today…and I pray.

In this time of tremendous challenge for America, our freedoms have never been more important. Yet, even with the attack of 9/11 happening only a short time ago, it's all too easy to take our hard-won freedoms for granted, and to even forget about the sacrifices that are currently being made to "provide for the common defense." 

The efforts to defend the truths we hold most dear began with the founding of America. Our fore-fathers and all the men and women who have followed in their footsteps have left each of us with a legacy of freedom unequaled in history.

America is a great nation…the world power…but unique from all other world powers that have ever been. Her might and power have come from the greatness of character and charity of her people, not her dominance…from her religious roots, not her wealth…from her foundation and framework…not the whims of modern mentality. 

To me she is worth fighting for and she is worth praying for. For she has not only been a beacon to the world in so many ways, but she is made up of my countrymen, and though not perfect nor of greater worth than other peoples of the world, still they are the people of my country, the land that I love.

To many in today’s postmodern, detached-from-history-generation, educated by left-leaning, even anti-American, professors, what I’ve just said may sound quaint, even foreign. But it is they who have it wrong, not me…for history proves it out.

While some will allow the shameful deeds of those who abused Iraqi prisoners to jade their attitude toward America, without denying this black spot on our nation, I choose to point to those who truly represent the hundreds of thousands of professional soldiers who not only make me proud to be an American, but grateful.

Oliver North told of such a soldier on a Fox News report while embedded in Iraq. A fire-fight broke out causing the journalists and soldiers to run for cover. Once safe, there was one soldier who kept going back out and bringing in the injured, carrying them on his back one by one, again and again. Everyone was impacted by this genuine hero, until he brought the last one in.

This time he was carrying a wounded Iraqi soldier. The journalists (excluding Oliver North) were indignant, speaking to him as if he were a moron…”couldn’t you see he was an Iraqi?”

To which the soldier answered…"couldn’t you see he was dying?”

On Veterans Day we remember our military who are still with us. On Memorial Day we remember those who gave the greatest sacrifice...their lives. One of the best ways we can remember their sacrifice is to support our troops who are serving today.

Sentiment without action serves no real purpose.

So, to help show your support here are a few sites I recommend: 

Donate a calling card to help keep service members in touch with their families at www.operationuplink.org/


Send a greeting via e-mail through www.OperationDearAbby.net


Adopt a Platoon, started by volunteer mothers to ensure that no U.S. deployed soldier is forgotten, by sending a weekly cheerful card or letter and a monthly care package to assigned soldier(s) at www.adoptaplatoon.org/


Give your frequent flier miles to participating airlines so our soldiers can fly home without having to pay for their air fare through



Do something for a soldier this Memorial Day weekend in remembrance of the valiant soldiers who gave their all.