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What does Memorial Day Mean to You?

Being a military member myself Memorial day has a very strong meaning to me. I have family that have served throughout the years and have lost brothers/sisters at arms in various conflicts.

So as a broad question to everyone...

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

If you have any inspiring stories to share about Veterans please feel free to share.
 
Rob, first let me say thank you for your service!

That's what Memorial Day means to me... being grateful for those who sacrifice to protect the freedoms that most of us enjoy. I have a father who served in the Navy during WWII, one brother who served two terms in Viet Nam and another who served in Okinawa in the Air Force. Asthma kept me from enlisting.

To all those Active Duty personnel serving or Veterans having served:

THANK YOU!

YOU ARE TRUE AMERICAN HEROES!


 
I tend to remember the pain I could see in my grandfather's (on my mother's side) eyes when I asked him about the war (Korea). He never once spoke a word of it after he came back, not even to his wife. He is quite a jovial man, with a smile almost always on his face, but when talk turned to politics or war, he clamped right down and would walk out of the room if it was at all possible.

On my father's side, my grandfather was in WWII and was part of the landing at Normandy, and he didn't talk about it much either. My father has his bayonet from his rifle, and a few other odds and ends.

Now, my younger brother is in the AF, and I probably would be too, but for my spectacularly awful track record with blood clotting and related health issues.


So, even though I don't have any specific or grandiose stories to relate here, I remember my family members that have served first and foremost, then all the friends I have that are "in" or have been.
 

luvmysuper

Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
To me, Memorial day is a time of respect and admiration, not of mourning.
Respect and admiration for those Memorialized today who have given all, and for those in harms way as we speak, ready on a moments notice to stand in mortal danger.

I bow my head in thanks to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may have the life we have today.

And I lift my hand in salute to those brave men and women who stand today as the shield and armour of all we hold dear.

Green sods are all their monuments;
and yet it tells a nobler history than pillared piles,
Or the eternal pyramids.

~James Gates Percival
 
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Thanks for the comments guys. Here are some statistics on those we've lost either defending our own country or others:

  • American Revolution, 1775 to 1784 4,000
  • War of 1812, 1812 to 1815 2,000
  • Indian Wars, approx. 1817 to 1898 1,000
  • Mexican War, 1846 to 1848 13,000
  • Civil War, 1861 to 1865 497,821
  • Spanish-American War, 1898 to 1902 11,000
  • World War I, 1917 to 1918 116,000
  • World War II, 1940 to 1947 406,000
  • Korean Conflict, 1950 to 1955 55,000
  • Vietnam Era, 1964 to 1975 109,000
  • Gulf War Era, 1990 to TBD 9,000
  • America's Wars Total 1,090,200*

The total reflects all casualties (this number is continually growing). The numbers of those lost fighting solely for the US are skewed by the fact that we were fighting each other during the American Civil War.

The most impressive fact to me is that the majority of American lives lost have been for other nations freedom and their right to live free from the tyranny of others.

To me, Memorial Days is about these one million plus men/women who have given their lives, paid the ultimate sacrifice for others and in most cases for people they didn't even know.

They are gone but not forgotten.

 
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For our non-American Badgers, a quick definition of Memorial Day and why we (American's) celebrate it:

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 in 2010). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I to honor all of the fallen of the United States.
 
Unfortunately fort me memorial day just means a three day weekend so I am looking forward to this thread to educate me about what this holiday is really about
 

Austin

Moderator Emeritus
Thanks to all our active duty and veteran status men and women who have served bravely. I salute you.
 
Thanksgiving Day: When we give thanks for what we have.

Memorial Day: When we give thanks to those who fought for what we have.

For those who gave their tomorrows for our todays, thank you.
 

brianw

Moderator Emeritus
Memorial Day for me....

Remember the friends I have lost.... Salute those who serve today and in the future
 
One of my best friends was a radio man in Vietnam. He never wanted to talk about that stuff, but I know exactly what he'll be doing tomorrow. First off he'll be in his bathrobe all day. No matter, whether he goes out to eat, goes to a cookout or he stays home, he will be in his bathrobe.

Thank-you Jacko, for your service. Thank-you all.

This is a rather somber holiday for me. But I will certainly hoist one for all those that have and still do make my family safe.

eta. And he won't be shaven.
 
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To me, it's a vivid reminder of the value we Americans put on our citizenship.

My grandfather served during WWI, my father during WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam, I'm a Viet Nam era veteran.

Each time I visit Washington D.C., I go to the Viet Nam Memorial, and, after recovering from my emotions there, I go to Arlington National Cemetery. The amount of sacrifice that others have made for our freedom is overwhelming, and, IMHO, there should be a lot more emphasis placed on this aspect of the holiday, and a lot less on it being the first long weekend of summer!
 
I'd like to add a group rarely recognized to that thoughtful list of heroes who gave their lives.

Here's an additional toast the the soldiers and sailors of both Spain and France, without whose help and sacrifice America would not have succeeded in beating the British, and as so are as responsible for this country becoming independent as the Patriots themselves.

Cheers.
 
For me it's a reminder of how blessed I am to serve the best country in the world alongside the best Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, and Marines and to do it as my choosing. I also reflect on those who are the true heroes who won't be here to celebrate this holiday tomorrow and the empty space they have left in many peoples lifes. I also reflect on the service of my forefathers and the high standards of bravery, courage, and commitment that we should all strive to adhere to. And most of all to pray for those service members who are still downrange, may we give them the tools to get the job done and may God bless them and their families with a safe return.
 

The Nid Hog

Moderator Emeritus
As a vet, it's a time for me to think about my relatives and comrades who went before me, and those who are gone but not forgotten.

As a citizen, it's yet another opportunity to be reminded that talk is cheap. It's easy to hang out the bunting and to thank vets for their service, but I'm not sure that this is much different in the end than the stories I've heard about ignoring or insulting Marines and soldiers returning from Vietnam. Kind words never gave anybody a full stomach or a roof over their heads. It's important and right to offer wreaths to the dead, but we have to think about the living too. Days like this should remind us that we need to help these young men and women recover from their injuries and return to their homes and their jobs. On Tuesday morning, when the grill has been cleaned up and put away, everybody who enjoyed the holiday should contact their legislators and make certain that this is a priority. They should dig down into their pockets and send a little something off to a group like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Maybe call the VA and see if there's room for a volunteer somewhere nearby. Just my .02.
 
What Memorial Day means to me...

Grandpa's old World War II stories...the ones he told and the ones I learned after he died

Tears at a military burial...and the awesome display of community and family the days leading up to those tears

Handing folded flags to family members of our brothers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice

Standing on the tarmac in Iraq and Afghanistan and watching as the fallen get loaded into a C-17

The smiles of my son and daughter...who are able to smile because of the sacrifice of so many.
 
Memorial Day is a day of appreciation for those who have served, past and present. I haven't, but have been looking seriously at the JAG reserves. It's something I'd really like to do.

My grandfather was a WWII vet. He served in the infantry in Europe and was in the Battle of the Bulge. He was lucky enough to come back uninjured and I heard plenty of stories about the war growing up. My father was in during Vietnam, but, for whatever reason, ended up in Korea on the parallel, as a medical supply officer.

My favorite Memorial Day was three years ago. I got away to the South on vacation and took a side trip off the Natchez Trace to visit Vicksburg on Memorial Day. Unfortunately, I'm mobile at the moment or I'd post some pictures from that day.
 
I am deeply indebted to all who paid the price for our freedom and safety. I honor them and their sacrifice.
 
...
As a citizen, it's yet another opportunity to be reminded that talk is cheap. It's easy to hang out the bunting and to thank vets for their service, but I'm not sure that this is much different in the end than the stories I've heard about ignoring or insulting Marines and soldiers returning from Vietnam. Kind words never gave anybody a full stomach or a roof over their heads. It's important and right to offer wreaths to the dead, but we have to think about the living too. Days like this should remind us that we need to help these young men and women recover from their injuries and return to their homes and their jobs. On Tuesday morning, when the grill has been cleaned up and put away, everybody who enjoyed the holiday should contact their legislators and make certain that this is a priority. They should dig down into their pockets and send a little something off to a group like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Maybe call the VA and see if there's room for a volunteer somewhere nearby. Just my .02.
+1 Action trumps words. I've visited Arlington. Those soldiers are dead. God bless their families. I was touched, but it is the vets in our neighborhoods now who need the help. A phone call to your elected federal representative could work wonders.
 
To me, Memorial Day is about those who paid the ulitmate sacrifice. It is not to honor the living - they have a day of honor, Veterans Day. Memorial is to remember those who gave all they had to give. I think Memorial Day is also a time to remember the forgotten - POWs & MIAs. There are still thousands that we have no idea what exactly happened to them. Many spent the rest of their days languishing in a strange land.



To me, Memorial Days is about these one million plus men/women who have given their lives, paid the ultimate sacrifice for others and in most cases for people they didn't even know.

They are gone but not forgotten.

:thumbup1:

I think the WBTS figures are closer to 800k when you include both sides.
 
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