A year ago, I wrote a Gold News & Views piece about what I keep in mind over the Memorial Day weekend. I wrote about the unprecedented challenges we had been facing for more than a year—challenges that we continue to face today, along with new challenges and, as always, an uncertain future.
But in the face of these challenges, and as we enter this Memorial Day weekend, I still find myself full of hope for the future. That hope is founded on the gratitude I feel to live and work in a country that, through our freedoms, allows us to face challenges head-on and turn them into opportunities for growth.
But those freedoms are often upheld at great cost, and this Memorial Day weekend I believe we should all set some time aside to honor those who have given their lives to protect our way of life.
It’s important to take time to honor those who have given their lives for our freedoms.
Since the start of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, more than 1.3 million American service members have lost their lives in conflict. As a nation, we believe that these heroes, and the sacrifices they have made for us, deserve to be honored. This is why, every Memorial Day, the President of the United States, or the President’s designee, travels to the Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s why at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance is to be recognized. It’s why Americans hold parades and visit our local cemeteries. We, as a nation, understand the weight of this sacrifice and take time out to recognize and honor those who have fought and died for our country.
We can also observe Memorial Day by reflecting on our freedoms.
We often center our attention on ourselves, our loved ones, and the future we wish to build or the legacy we wish to leave behind. Memorial Day gives us a chance to step back and take note of the freedoms that allow us to build that future and legacy. We are incredibly lucky to live in a nation that provides us with so many opportunities, and it’s important that we not take those freedoms for granted. As President Ronald Reagan said in January 1967:
“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance. It must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”
We can show our support beyond Memorial Day.
As we enjoy our freedoms year-round, we can also show our support year-round for veterans and the families of those who have given their lives for our nation. U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois (D), herself a disabled combat veteran and retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, had this to say at a Memorial Day service in 2019:
“While we can never fully repay the debt owed to those who lost their lives defending our nation, we must do everything we can to uphold our commitment to those who’ve worn the uniform of this great nation and to their families who have made significant sacrifices on our behalf.”
Both locally and online, you can find multiple organizations and non-profits dedicated to helping those who serve as well as the families of those who have given their lives for our freedoms. Here at U.S. Money Reserve, we’re proud to have launched Wings of Gratitude, an initiative that encourages families to send personal messages of appreciation to those who are serving or have served in our nation’s armed forces.
This Memorial Day, I invite you to join me in recognizing the national moment of remembrance and honoring those who have given of themselves so that we might enjoy the freedoms we hold so dear. We must never forget to honor their sacrifice, or take our freedoms for granted.