On this Memorial Day, we remember
When people think of Memorial Day, images of ribs on the barbecue, sprinklers on front lawns, American flags, band parades come to mind. And, let’s be honest, many people just think of it as a day off work. But as a Gold Star Mother, Memorial Day is no longer filled with eager anticipation.
This year marks the sixth Memorial Day without my son, Cpl. Conner T. Lowry, USMC, KIA March 1, 2012, Afghanistan. For me, Memorial Day is now an entire weekend of prayer services, parades and ceremony. I have a full wardrobe of red, white and blue that I wear on this weekend only. And I am grateful for my friends and family who know how difficult this weekend can be and attend these ceremonies with me.
This year I reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. Three years after the Civil War ended on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day, a day for the nation to decorate the graves of the casualties of the Civil War with flowers. In the years following, Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day, and it became a day to honor all of those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress.
Although Memorial Day for many has become the unofficial kick-off for summer, it is more importantly a day to remember. For that, I am grateful.
Today, I pray for the reverence that Conner deserves in making the ultimate sacrifice. For Gold Star Families and our veterans, Memorial Day is not just a day off; it is a day for our nation to remember and honor our servicemen and women who gave their lives for our freedom.
Memorial Day is for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I hope that the true meaning of this holiday will ring true for all Americans, not just those of us who are a part of military families.
Modie Lavin is a U.S. Marine Corps Gold Star Mother. She is an outreach coordinator with the Road Home Program. You can contact Modie at Modewene_Lavin@rush.edu. Meet the entire team of the Road Home Program.
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