All about sacrifice

Memorial Day is a two word holiday about sacrifice!

Name: Memorial Day. Purpose: To recognize the ultimate sacrifice,

It is NOT: “Memorial Day Sale.” or “Memorial Day Specials.”

And, contrary to the National Holiday Act of 1971, it’s NOT “Memorial Day Weekend.”

It’s NOT about getting a bargain or getting an extra day off.

It is the one day a year we set aside for HONORING OUR NATION’S WAR DEAD. It is the day that reminds us, that FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

Its origin was in 1866, in towns and villages across our scarred nation. People were going to the thousands of recently turned grave sites to remember and honor the dead from the killing fields of the Civil War.

Waterloo, New York, not far from here, was one such town. There, a well-known store owner and a local Civil War hero mustered up enough support to officially observe the first Decoration Day on May 5, 1866.

Two years later, G.A.R. General John Logan issued General Order #11, the one traditionally read at Memorial Day ceremonies.

He wanted Americans to decorate the graves of “comrades who died in defense of their country” in the “recent rebellion.” He wanted people to remember those who fell at places like Bull Run and Gettysburg.

In the one hundred and fifty-one years since Order #11, our nation has seen her brave patriots leave their homes and families to engage in a score of conflicts around the globe. Some of those wars were long and brutal and others were mercifully short. However, regardless of length, they always resulted in flag-draped coffins and the haunting sound of “Taps” echoing across cemeteries. That sad ritual has occurred over 636 thousand times since the Civil War.

THAT is what Memorial Day is about.

Daniel M. Polinski

U.S. Army Veteran