There is an old house in my neighborhood that is on the restoration list. It’s broken and crumbled it’s sight is nothing to behold. Like every old thing this house has a history. It held a purpose from the laying of the very first brick. There is a house like this in every neighborhood, town, state and country. If the clock in the center of any town were to be rewound you would find architects pressing pencil to paper. Working into the night until the plans for each one reached completion.
Men would then be hired to construct the foundations and often times the owner and his family would pitch in. Mortar would then be applied to each row, as the afternoon sun would force the builders to reach for water to cool themselves. Through sweat and tears the structures were completed with the addition of windows, doors and a roof. Each person who had a part worked to feed, cloth and keep warm their families. They were proud of their work. Then came move in day for the families and daily routine tasks went from building walls to building futures.
Then there came a day when the young men who were raised there waved goodbye and stared one more time into the direction of home, possibly never to return as they headed off to war. They were to face a different mortar one that fired shells and pierced their bodies. No longer safe, and no walls to hide behind, they fought into the night. Hungry and tired, hot meals and soft beds became a thing of the past. They weren’t working to feed their families, but to ensure the freedoms we all hold sacred today.
Those who returned did so without many of their brothers. Their wive’s and mothers kept the vigil at home often holding down jobs themselves to support the war or caring for those who were wounded. Their children and grandchildren left in later wars, some not recognized today for the price they paid.
Today’s soldier is made up of men and women, mother’s and father’s. Leaving the service of their communities, homes and jobs for that of another land. They come from homes that were built to protect them much like the ones mentioned in the beginning. When a home has aged it means far less to those who view it in its depreciated state than those who viewed it on its completion day. Our country is much like an aged home. Sometimes it doesn’t stand proud, sometimes no matter how hard our soldiers fight we are not safe. However we must always keep it on the restoration list so we do not lose sight of those who protected it for a while then passed it on to the next generation.
Today we celebrate those who continue to serve and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for us. At the time of the Civil war, Memorial Day was previously known as decoration day. In 1971 it became a federal holiday and it was renamed. It means something diffent to everyone. Especially to those living without the soldier who didn’t return. For others it’s a day off work, to sit by the lake or to picnic with family and friends. There is nothing wrong with that, but please remember those who fought for you to make the choice of how you will spend today.
To those who lost their life, continue to serve or have retired from duty and to their families who know it’s not just a job for them, I humbly thank you. I honor your loved ones today.