Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day, 2008

Today is Memorial Day. Years ago, Memorial Day was marked in many towns by parades honoring our veterans, and by the cleaning and decorating of veteran's grave sites and cemeteries. While many still remember the meaning of the holiday, I think that for most, Memorial Day has lost its meaning. For many, Memorial Day marks the start of summer - a time for family celebrations and barbeque's.

I'm all for family celebrations and barbeque's. I think that spending quality time with our loved ones is a great way to show thanks for our freedoms, but I fear that the true meaning of this holiday is lost. Throughout our history, so many have sacrificed to protect our freedoms, and today is a day when we should all pause to remember them and be grateful for their service and sacrifice.

In May 2000, President Clinton released a Memorandum on the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance. In it he said:

Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness
and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while
defending our Nation and its values. While we should
honor these heroes every day for the profound
contribution they have made to securing our Nation's
freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial

... I ask that all Americans come together to recognize
how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe
a universal ``National Moment of Remembrance'' on each
Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a
simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and
honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.

Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments
and agencies, in consultation with the White House
Program for the National Moment of Remembrance (Program),
to promote a ``National Moment of Remembrance'' to
occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.

When President Clinton wrote this directive, I don't think any of us could foresee that our troops would soon be deployed and in active combat. Today, we remember not just the fallen heroes of past wars, but all those who have fallen recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So today, on Memorial Day 2008, I urge everyone to enjoy this holiday and to spend quality time with loved ones, but to also remember the meaning of this holiday and to take at least a few minutes to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. Stop from your activities at 3 pm to remember the meaning of the holiday. Say thank you to an active service man or woman and to a retired veteran.

Marine Corps Kids tries to show our gratitude to our troops and their families. The small gifts that we send is nothing in comparison to the gift that our troops and their families give to us. Today, I would like to say thank you to everyone serving in our military forces, and to their families. I'm grateful for your service.

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