Remember why we honor the fallen today

There aren’t many who call it Decoration Day anymore, but doing so might better help us remember the reason for the Memorial Day holiday. It is not an excuse to give us a three-day weekend; nor is it meant to serve primarily as the unofficial start to summer.

Memorial Day is meant to remember and honor those who have lost their lives in military service to our country. Its origins as Decoration Day come from the practice of visiting cemeteries and monuments to bring flowers to the markers that honor those men and women.

Parades, concerts and backyard gatherings are fine. But let us add to these a moment — at 3 p.m., to be precise — to pause in a show of national unity in gratitude to those who are honored with the day. We are free to enjoy our time off because of them.

The men and women of our armed forces give more for us than could ever be put to words. And many have made the ultimate sacrifice. It is on this day we honor the price they paid for our freedom.

Christopher Gadsden, a soldier, politician and leader of the patriot movement in South Carolina during the American Revolution, said “What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.”

Enjoy the day, then, folks, but remember generations of men and women were willing to give all they had to give, to do all they could do. Do not forget the freedom we have is because of them.