Today Americans everywhere honor the fallen heroes

of American wars past and present.

As we take time to reflect on those who have sacrificed their lives for the service of our country, let us remember what Memorial Day is and why it is crucial to never forget what these heroes gave for our country.

Historically, Memorial Day dates back to the Civil War (1861-1865) when it was originally formed by liberated slaves calling it Decoration Day when they covered the tombs of fallen union soldiers with flowers. After World War I, the day was expanded to honor all American casualties of war or military action and renamed it Memorial Day.
I had the unforgettable honor of visiting our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. My cousin and her fiance, who were getting married that week, gave us an outstanding tour of many historical landmarks. One of the most impressive places we toured was the Arlington National Cemetery. There, thousands of known and unknown soldiers are buried and honored. As we observed the countless burial markers, the vast statement of sacrifice for our country overwhelmed me. A moment of silence fell as we contemplated the nameless soldiers honored at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Although fallen American soldiers are buried worldwide in marked and unmarked graves, Arlington National Cemetery brought to my mind the recognition of those who fought for liberty, freedom, and justice. Although their lives were lost, their nobility lives on through the survivors and civilians, and the liberty and justice they fought so courageously for.

I am encouraged to take a moment today and remember that Memorial Day is more than barbecues or a reason to visit with family and friends. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave everything for their country. For our country. For America, the land of the free.

Photos by BL1961, Rob Crowley, and at