“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
It began as “Decoration day,” May 30, 1868 – a day to honor those who gave their lives in the Civil War. Since becoming a Federal holiday in 1971, Memorial Day now represents a day to remember all those who have gone before. Amid the fun of a three-day weekend – picnics and BBQs, family and friends – let us not forget the men and women who have paid the highest price. From the American Revolution to the Gulf War, over 1,500,000 men and women have given their lives – not including the countless men and women who have died, and continue to die, in the battle that rages today. We may never know their names, but someone does. Someone has lost a father or mother, a son or daughter, a sister or brother, a neighbor, a friend. A life once lived is now gone forever; and all for taking a stand. As we remember their courage and ultimate sacrifice, let us vow to do more than acknowledge a moment of silence, or drape a flag upon a headstone. Let us be determined to allow their courage to strengthen our own. May we never tire of doing good; may we never tire of standing for what is right. And in so taking that stand, our memorial will be more than just a date on the calendar. It will be our very lives.