Soldiers move from grave to grave, pausing to place an American flag at the final resting place of these men and women we honor today. It is not about the barbeques or the sidewalk sales or the trips to the beach or the baseball games, as nice as any of those things are. Memorial Day is the day for remembering the men and women who died while serving.
President Barack Obama, in his annual proclamation said today "Constant in the American narrative is the story of men and women who loved our country so deeply they were willing to give their all to keep it safe and free. When a revolution needed to be won and our Union needed to be preserved, brave patriots stepped forward. When our harbor was bombed and our country was attacked on a clear September morning, courageous warriors raised their hands and said, 'send me.' On the last Monday of each May, our Nation comes together to honor the selfless heroes who have defended the land we love and in so doing gave their last full measure of devotion."
The President goes on to remind us that "Today, we pause to remember our fallen troops, to mourn their loss, and to pray for their loved ones. Though our hearts ache, we find a measure of solace in knowing their legacy lives on in the families our heroes left behind -- the proud parents who instilled in their sons and daughters the values that led them to serve; the remarkable spouses who gave our Nation the person they cherished most in the world; and the beautiful children who will grow up with the knowledge that their mother or father embodied the true meaning of patriotism."
Lest we forget, I want to point out once again that today is a special day of remembrance. Today is NOT the day we honor all who have served in our military. It is good and right that they be remembered, but there is a special time, Veterans Day in November which celebrates the service of all US military veterans. Today has a different purpose. Today we remember the fallen.