Freedom is More Than a Bumper Sticker
“Freedom isn’t free.”
“Land of the free because of the brave.”
If you’re out grabbing your beer, hamburgers and charcoal in preparation for Memorial Day you’ve probably noticed some of these slogans. They appear on everything from beer cozies to T-shirts to flip-flops, and on a busy day you can see them in parking lots from Albuquerque to Zanesville. For the most part, we pass them on our way to buy and don’t give them any more thought than we might give an abandoned shopping cart.
This Memorial Day, maybe it’s a habit we should change. There’s a price tag associated with our freedom, and it’s a price that has been paid by millions of men and women throughout our country’s history. So while you’re enjoying your beer and burgers, take some time to reflect on the sacrifices that make it possible. It’s really, as they say, the ‘reason for the season.’
Here are some ways you can observe Memorial Day:
Get started early. Wear your Memorial Day button from the first of May through the end of the month.
Visit a military memorial. Many communities have a local marker or memorial, so take a little time to pay a visit. If you get the chance, you can also visit one of the national sites like Arlington National Cemetery or the Pearl Harbor monument.
Attend a parade or another community event. Many cities and towns have a Memorial Day parade, so come out and show your pride. Or if you want to go bigger, why not attend the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., held on May 28th this year?
Reflect. Participate in a "National Moment of Remembrance", observed at 3:00 PM local time.
Invite a military family to spend the day with you. It can be tough on families who have a loved one stationed overseas, so reach out and share your Memorial Day with them.
Visit a veteran. While Memorial Day is a day to honor those who have fallen to protect our freedom, there are plenty of living veterans who would appreciate a kind word or a thank you for their service.
Volunteer. There are plenty of veteran’s organizations like the Wounded Warrior Project or Disabled American Veterans who could use your time and support. One we especially like in our local area is Project New Hope - where veterans rebuild with honor.
While it’s important to remember why we celebrate Memorial Day, don’t forget to have a little fun too. And the next time you go through a parking lot, take a moment to appreciate the true meaning behind those bumper stickers.