"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
One of my regular beefs, which my wife and kids have long since tired of hearing, is this:
"That damned hero stuff is a bunch crap, I guess...You gotta understand that there's all kinds of heroes, but they never get a chance to be in a hero's position."
--John William Finn was the nation's oldest living Medal of Honor winner. He died on May 27, 2010.
Holidays like Memorial Day and Veteran's Day exist for a reason. It's not just a day off school or work, or an occasion to picnic. For years I have felt that our schools don't do a good job of teaching the history of the holiday, or imparting the proper sense of respect. Memorial Day, in particular, gets watered down into a broad, hazy day of remembrance. People need to understand that Memorial Day exists for the sole purpose of honoring our war dead.
There are many of them. Since November 2001, more than 209 Illinois citizens have died in combat. They came from all over the state, from varying backgrounds, men and women alike. What they all have in common is that they died in our service, and they are deserving of our deepest gratitude and respect.
Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day", and was first observed on May 30, 1868. It was first officially proclaimed by Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, General John A. Logan. Yes, that's the same Logan that Logan Square and Logan Boulevard are named after.
Every year since 2000, there is a National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm. It's a good time to observe a moment of silence, or say a short prayer, both for our fallen and for the families they left behind.
If you want to be deeply humbled, or inspired, visit the website for the Congressional Medal of Honor, and read some of the citations.
For everyone who serves, or who has served, and to the families of all those men and women, I say thank you.