Last Friday, I had the privilege of walking up the streets of Boston, following the famed Freedom Trail to Bunker Hill. The imposing obelisk on top of that hill beckons visitors from all around, and as I approached, I saw in front of the obelisk the statue of Colonel Prescott (famous for leading his men in erecting an earthen fort overnight, and for his command, “Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.”)
As I walked through the memorial, I read the accounts of those brave men who left hearth and families to fight a seemingly invincible foe, all because of their conviction that the oppression must stop, and stop with them. I wondered what their farewell to their families must have been like. I wondered, would I have had the courage to do what they did?
We live in such relative ease, and our lives are so different because of what they and other men in other battles throughout that war did.
Today, Memorial Day is celebrated to honor all those who have fought in our country’s defense. I will be thinking of those who, in any way, have given their lives and never returned home, and of those whose bodies and minds have forever been changed because of their service. There is no way we can recompense them for what they have given – but today, I can pause to remember that without them, my life would be different – and I want to acknowledge their sacrifice in my behalf.
Today, those of us who have lost loved ones also honor their memory. As a widow, when I place flowers on my late husband’s grave today, I will be thinking of all the good he brought into my life: seven children; a legacy of hard work and determination; a fun sense of humor; a dedication to truth, and a deep love for our country. As I place flowers on my parents’ graves, I will share a few stories of the good they added to this world.
On Memorial Day, we are all reminded that our time on this earth is limited, and no one knows when their time will end. Today, may we honor those who were willing to risk shortening their time here so that our time could be lived with more freedom, more dignity, and more peace.