The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who benefit from those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we don't observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our family members, our loved ones, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:
- by visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
- by visiting memorials.
- by flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
- by renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
My dear husband (MSgt. Ronald E. Baker, Ret. Air Force) is the most patriotic person I know. He served 3 tours in Vietnam and is now 100% disabled because of the effects of Agent Orange. He has been a speaker for a number of military services locally. I want to share excerpts from the speech he shared at the Pioneer Memorial Day service in 2009. To say I am proud of him barely skims the tip of the iceberg.
"Our most precious asset as Americans is liberty. Most of Europe is free because American men fought to loose them from the bands of fascism, socialism, and communism. America is free because men were willing to die to preserve and protect our liberties as spelled out in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights. The rights and privileges of our society cannot be allowed to be squandered or given away to any person or group of people, no matter their ideology.
I believe there is a majority of Americans who want to preserve our freedoms, maintain the rule of law and order, and keep the pursuit of happiness as the forefront of our national policy. Those of us who hold to these goals will never stop fighting for freedom. We will never compromise on liberty. We will not give in to totalitarianism. We will not give in, give up, or submit to any form of government, religion or ideology that would take away what this country has long stood for in the world, namely our liberty and justice for all her citizens. We can never take our freedom for granted. Our responsibility is to preserve it at all costs. Those men and women whom we honor here have already paid that price for the way of life we now enjoy.
Our freedom is the most precious legacy we can pass on to our children. There can be no alternative that would satisfy the sacrifices made by those who have defended our liberty with their very lives. As we look back today over our nation's history, we must also acknowledge those who are at this very moment fighting on other battlefields in our world to recapture or preserve freedom from the grasp of evildoers who would enslave men and families in false religious cults, dictatorial governments, and the insanely narcissistic men who consider themselves to be gods in their own eyes.
So then, what do we owe our fallen heroes? Well, I believe we owe them our very lives. Their blood was shed so that you and I could be here secure in our freedom. Our rights to assemble, speak freely, believe in our Creator, travel and trade amongst ourselves with relatively few restrictions, are all just a few of the many wonderful opportunities afforded to a people who are truly enjoying liberty the way God intended.
The cost has been high. It may get much higher in the near future. There are still those who would love to see our nation fall. They are of that evil empire that former president Ronald Reagan warned us about. We cannot forsake all that our nation has stood for and all that our brave soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have died for, as well as those who are carrying the banner of a freedom-loving country to various other nations in turmoil around the world. We must rally around our flag once more. We must pray for those in harm's way, today and always. It is our duty. It is our responsibility. And it is our honor. Let's not fail to take a stand for freedom. Let's pay our debt as fully as those who have gone before us...no matter the cost."
I think it's great to have foodie fun and celebrate the holiday with red, white and blue yummies. Use red, white and blue sprinkles on cupcakes or jello. Make a flag shape on top of white frosted brownies or dessert with berries and marshmallows. Outline the shape of a star with strawberries and fill in with blueberries. Layer blueberries and strawberries between vanilla yogurt or pudding to make a parfait. Be creative, but whatever you do: Celebrate the holiday with a special foodie dish!
Enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend and don't forget to thank a vet for their service and sacrifice.