We Must Always Remember

Memorial Day festivities are a memory and children’s laughter permeates the air in celebration of summer fun.  Summer travels filled with fun commence and the flags flown at half-staff to commemorate the dead fly high again.   Flags placed on our veteran’s graves have been gathered up by the dedicated volunteers who so dutifully placed them on each grave of our American heroes.  Our cemeteries, where the remains of our fallen have been respectfully interred, are returned to their daily routine.  As we all step back into the routine of daily life, the families of the fallen are forever burdened with the loss of the person they loved dearly.  It is our sacred duty to ensure that their memory is forever etched in the life of our nation and that the families of the fallen will know that we share the burden of their loss.  None should minimize their heroism nor disparage those of us who call them heroes.

Many of us will never know what it is like to say goodbye to loved one, praying that they will return after many months away from home.  Many of us cannot truly appreciate the heart-wrenching feeling when a news report comes across the wire announcing that a soldier paid the ultimate price for another person’s freedom.  Many of us can only imagine what it is like to receive word that the loved one we sent to a foreign land was killed fighting for us all.  Unless we suffer their loss we will never be burdened with the question of why them?  Memorial Day is a day of picnics and fun and we must remember that we are able to enjoy that day because a hero gave his life for us.

Our American soldier is the rarest of soldiers for he or she is an individual who fights simply for the cause of freedom.  Victory is not about conquest over another, rather conquest over tyranny.  Our American soldier willingly sheds his or her blood so others may enjoy the precious rights we often take for granted.  Their lives are freely given so that we are free to worship and speak without fear and that others may be released from oppression.  Our American soldiers honor us because they are the best of us.  Our fallen heroes ask only that we remember them.

When you happen upon the grave of a fallen hero, take a moment to say a prayer of thanks for the sacrifice made by the one whose dreams were left on some battlefield far from home.  Remember that we are able to enjoy the rights given to us by God because an American soldier stood steadfast between tyranny and freedom.

Andrej Lah
President, Catholic Cemeteries Association
alah@clevelandcatholiccemeteries.org

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