Memorial Day isn’t just a day off from work.
Take some time, maybe while the burgers are sizzling on the grill, to ponder the day’s sad and solemn meaning.
Memorial Day hadn’t yet been created when Abrahan Lincoln gave his short speech at Gettysburg.
But Lincoln might have been speaking of the meaning of Memorial Day when he said, “that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.”
All the American men and women who have died in all the wars gave that last full measure. They died so that America could live.
On Memorial Day we must remember that. And the price, the terrible price:
Civil War — 625,000 dead.
Spanish-American War — 2,446 dead.
Philippine War — 4,196 dead.
World War I — 116,516 dead.
World War II — 405,399 dead.
Korean War — 33,686 dead.
Gulf War — 382 dead.
Iraq War — 4,400 dead.
Afghanistan — 2,178 dead.
The price of war is high. It always goes up. And someone else pays the bill for us.
But because so many were — and are — willing to pay that price, government of the people, by the people, for the people has not perished from the earth.
We should remember what we have. We should remember what it cost.
And not just on Memorial Day.