By Spc. Christopher M. GaylordJune 15, 2008
The U.S. stands out among other countries for one reason: the freedom of its citizens. Americans are extremely lucky to have the freedoms they do. We have the right to say literally whatever is on our minds to whomever we wish or wear whatever attire we choose.
We must keep in mind, however, that our many freedoms were given to us by men and women who sacrificed their own freedoms, and in many cases, their own lives.
It is immensely important that as Americans we remember and honor those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifices for their country so that we may have the right to bear arms, speak freely and the right to vote for our next leader.
All who call themselves Americans must realize that the U.S. Armed Forces, since their beginning, have provided for and protected them.
Memorial Day, which was officially proclaimed May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his 11th General Order and first observed May 30, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, will forever be a day our nation holds close to its heart.
The holiday was originally called Decoration Day, because of the graves of Soldiers decorated by their wives and families.
New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday, in 1873, and today it is celebrated in almost every state on the last Monday in May.
Many Americans have forgotten the meaning of the traditions and the purpose of Memorial Day, but it is important that each understands this remembrance is much more than just a three-day weekend. Every right of every American is courtesy of the brave men and women who have always gone before the enemy in defense of our great country, giving everything to keep it free, safe and secure.