A Memorial Day Tribute
By Bob Funk Sr.
Sure. I love Memorial Day for all the reasons most Americans enjoy this national holiday – right down to flag waving, parades and outdoor grilling with family and loved ones.
But it also seems younger generations do not understand or appreciate its origin and significance of Memorial Day (this responsibility is on the shoulders of more mature generations – not the fault of millennials and Generation Z). In my humble opinion, this great country could use a healthy dose of pro-America advocacy, apolitical history lessons and truthful patriotic story telling. In this shared burden, I am posting the below to my site, blog and social media.
Since the earliest ceremonies in small American towns following the Civil War, Americans gather on Memorial Day to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. As in those early days of laying wreaths and placing flags, our national day of remembrance is often felt most deeply among the families and communities who have personally lost friends and loved ones.
And while the national holiday is the unofficial start of the summer season, it is more-importantly designed so that Americans can take a moment to remember the sacrifice of our valiant military service members, first responders and their families. Memorial Day is a day of both celebration and grief, accounting for the honor of our heroes and reflecting on their tragic loss.
During the Civil War, soldiers were mustered from towns and villages across the land. And as you remember from your history lessons, the Civil War took the greatest toll of lives – far more than any war in American history. For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — but recent studies have the loss of lives closer to 850,000. Like today, the loss of each soldier was a profound tragedy for both family and community.
A lithograph of the Battle of Gettysburg. Credit; Library of Congress/Getty Images
Today, we honor service members from all of America’s past wars. As we struggle for ways to heal, Abraham Lincoln’s message of almost 150 years ago can still inspire us.
Memorial Day is a time to remember those courageous individuals who gave their lives to protect and defend our endearing and enduring values – and this includes First Responders. On Memorial Day, we should remember and honor our First Responders and Health Professionals for their bravery and heroism during the 2020 pandemic. May God bless and protect each and every one of them!
This, then, is the mission of Memorial Day: to reach out in support of all the Soldiers, First Responders, Health Professionals and Patriots who – with the valiant and loyal support of their families – sacrifice so much for each of us.
The Funk family will take a pause out of a typical busy Memorial weekend to say a prayer and remember our great patriots that work so hard to ensure this great country enjoys liberty, freedom, a healthy environment and safety from outside terrorism. We honor you and salute you!
Five Great Ideas for Memorial Day 2021
In addition to picnics and BBQs, here are five great ideas for things we can do in and around our homes and towns to celebrate Memorial Day in 2021.
Attend A Parade. Many towns have parades on Memorial Day and some events even conclude with a memorial service. Take some time from relaxing with friends and family to take advantage of what your town has to offer on this important day.
Decorate with Flags. Break out the red, white and blue! For many years, it has been a tradition to decorate graves of fallen soldiers with flags on Memorial Day. Bring that tradition home and decorate your house and lawn with the stars and stripes! Another tradition is to fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. If you have a flag pole, consider joining the tradition this year.
Thank A Veteran. While Memorial Day is a time for remembering and honoring our fallen soldiers, it’s also a wonderful time to thank soldiers past and present who are right here in our midst today. Thank them for all they have done to protect our country and our freedoms. Don’t know a veteran or want to do more? Write a letter to a veteran or soldier! Check out OperationGratitude.com for more information about writing letters or sending care packages to soldiers currently deployed.
Participate in our National Moment of Remembrance. In an effort to ensure Memorial Day is the sacred and noble holiday it is intended to be, the National Moment of Remembrance asks all of us to pause for 1 minute in an act of national unity wherever we are at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day. 3 PM is the time when most of us are enjoying our freedoms on this national holiday.
Plan on visiting the Memorial Museum in OKC.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial, a private 501(c)(3) and award-winning institution, honors those who were killed in the bombing, survivors, first responders, heroes and volunteers who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts of the largest domestic terrorism event in our nation’s history.