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FOCUS ON THE BACKROADS: Focus on Memorial Day

Once a year families and communities across the US take time to honor the men and women who died while serving our country. Many will gather at local memorials to give their thanks to these brave men and women.

Known as Decoration Day, the tradition was to decorate graves in remembrance of those people that died serving the country. This day was first widely observed on May 30, 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers during the Civil War. In 1873, New York was the first state to official observe the day as Memorial Day. Several states followed and declared it an legal holiday. By the end of World War I it became a day to honor all those who had died in all of America’s wars and became a national holiday.

At the first national commemoration, Jame Garfield, a former Union General, sitting Ohio Congressman, and the future 20th President of the United States, mad a speech at Arlington National Cemetery said:

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

Over the years, to some, this day has become just another “3-day weekend”. A time to get together, hit the lake, tip a few, and grill. Nothing wrong with that – if we take a some time to remember and honor the brave folks that have lost their lives while serving our country – while serving you. Even though most of their names are unknown to us these men and women are heroes that should be held in high honor:

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men (and women) who died. Rather we should thank God such men (and women) lived” George S. Patton

This morning I visited the National Cemetery in Grand Prairie, Texas. There were a large number of people paying tribute to fiends, love ones, and others that have been laid to rest at this beautiful site. There were smiles, tears, fellowship, and prayers.

There are two Medal of Honor recipients at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery; Colonel James Lamar and Sargent Candelario Garcia both Viet Nam veterans.

Take a moment to remember all the unselfish American who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our great country. Through out our history these exceptional individuals and others who have service our country, both during war time and periods peace, have walked amongst us.

“Without Memory, there is no future. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” Elie Wiesel

Happy Memorial Day and God Bless America

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