From the desk of Certified Paralegal, Terrie O’Donnell
This year, I had the opportunity to visit our Nation’s Capital for Memorial Day. While many associate Memorial Day with barbecues and a long weekend, Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This visit to our Nation’s Capital allowed me to reflect upon the true meaning behind this solemn holiday.
Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began after the Civil War to honor fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers. Over time, it evolved into the national holiday we recognize today. It is a time to express gratitude, reflect on the cost of freedom, and remember the selfless acts of countless servicemen and servicewomen.
My visit began with attending the annual National Memorial Concert on the grounds of the Capitol. The Concert was a stirring tribute to our fallen heroes that brought tears to my eyes multiple times during the Concert. This annual event brings together renowned musicians, actors, and military bands to honor the sacrifice of servicemen and servicewomen. The show serves as a reminder of the resilience and courage displayed by those who have served in the military and pays tribute to their memory through inspiring musical performances and personal stories. This Concert should be a must-see for you and your family every year as it will now be one in my home.
Like always, this year’s Concert honored the Gold Star Families who have lost a loved one in military service. The Gold Star represents the ultimate sacrifice made by a service member, symbolizing honor and respect for their loved ones. Memorial Day holds particular significance for Gold Star Families, as it allows the nation to express gratitude for their sacrifice and offer support during their time of mourning. Remembering and recognizing their enduring loss and supporting these families year-round is important.
As part of my visit, I also felt moved to revisit Arlington National Cemetery on this very special day. The rows of white marble headstones and the flags put out on this important day made the cemetery an even more solemn landscape, paying tribute to our nation’s heroes. This final resting place for over 400,000 individuals, including military personnel, veterans, and their families, brought out their families from near and far. I had the pleasure of witnessing the families carrying flowers to lay upon their loved ones’ graves. Other families carried pictures of their family members and shared the service information about their loved ones.
A visit to Arlington, as the cemetery is commonly known, would not be complete without a visit to the guarded 24/7 Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This symbol of respect for all unidentified fallen soldiers is always moving, but it is even more moving on Memorial Day.
So next year, as I prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, I will remember its profound significance beyond the barbecues and sales. It is a time to honor the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who fought to protect our freedom. Places like Arlington National Cemetery and events like the National Memorial Concert are poignant reminders of the tremendous cost of liberty and the need to preserve the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us express our gratitude, not just on Memorial Day but every day, to the fallen heroes and their families who have given so much to ensure our way of life.
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