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  • Writer's pictureKaren McPhail, RN, MSN

The True Essence of Memorial Day

"What is the true meaning of Memorial Day?  Fondly ask any military family and they are sure to know and tell you!  Memorial Day is not about the picnics, the barbecues, the opening of the pool finally for the summer... it is a day of remembrance for everyone who has died serving in the U.S. armed forces. This holiday, originally known as Decoration Day, began after the Civil War.  It is a day about the men and women who have served for all of us and who have sacrificed their lives for all of us. .

So, before you head out today to a family event, a pool party or a picnic please sit down and think about the people that serve our country day after day, year after year, and how valuable their service is to us and to our country.  Thing about those who are no longer with us due to their bravery and sacrifice. Do not just smile and say Happy Memorial day, think of the true essence of this holiday.  Think about those who provide us with the security and freedom that we enjoy each day and often times take for granted.  Do not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day as you move forward today.

Sending a sincere thank you to all who serve.

Ronald Reagan

Memorial Day, 1982

"I have no illusions about what little I can add now to the silent testimony of those who gave their lives willingly for their country… Yet, we must try to honor them—not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice."

George W. Bush

Memorial Day, 2005

"Looking across this field, we see the scale of heroism and sacrifice. All who are buried here understood their duty. All stood to protect America. And all carried with them memories of a family that they hoped to keep safe by their sacrifice."

Barack Obama

Memorial Day, 2015

"For 147 years, our nation has set aside this day to pay solemn tribute to patriots who gave their last full measure of devotion for this country that we love. And while the nature of war has changed over that time, the values that drive our brave men and women in uniform remain constant: Honor, courage, selflessness."

Gen. George Patton

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."

Bill Clinton

Memorial Day, 1996

"Here on this peaceful hillside, the silent rows of headstones tell tales of service and sacrifice that are so much the story of our nation. Here lies the spirit that has guided our country for more than 200 years now. Nurses and drummer boys, scouts and engineers, warriors and peacemakers -- joined by a shared devotion to defend our nation, protect our freedom, keep America strong and proud."

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