A Day to Remember Our Fallen Heroes and Honor Their Legacy
A guest column by Senator John Eklund
May 28, 2018
Originally known as "Decoration Day," the purpose of Memorial Day has remained unchanged since it became an official federal holiday in 1971. In the early years after the Civil War, the memory of a war that took more American lives than any other in our history, still remained fresh in the minds of the people. Yet they honored the troops the same as we do today. While the weapons of war have changed, the sacrifice has not.
It remains clear to us that there is something about the men and women who give their lives for a cause larger than themselves that should be remembered and cherished. They are the best among us Americans, and we owe our freedom to their courage and self-sacrifice.
How can we as Ohioans honor those who lay down their lives for their country, from the Civil War to the conflict in Afghanistan? When we see a road named after a fallen soldier in our own community, we can pause for a moment to give thanks for a life lived in service to a higher cause. We can treat the parades, picnics and ceremonies we attend as more than an unofficial celebration of summer's advent. We can further the cause of the fallen by striving to make sure our soldiers are fully equipped in the line of duty and our veterans have the resources they need to flourish in civilian life.
This Memorial Day, as you enjoy time with your families and loved ones, take a moment to remember the Gold Star families who have an empty seat at the table. Perhaps call an old veteran who may be thinking about the friends he lost as he sits at home. Take a moment to visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website and read some of the unbelievable stories of heroism and sacrifice that built this nation.
And to all our Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen who are currently overseas continuing their proud tradition, we thank you for picking up the sword from those who have fallen and continuing to fight. Your bravery honors their legacy, and you are all heroes in the eyes of the American people.