May 18, 1998
A memorial day tribute
by Anthony G. Jordan, National Commander of the American Legion
Memorial Day is a time of remembrance and of thanksgiving. "Remembrance" because we pay our respects to the one-million American men and women who laid down their lives in time of war. "Thanksgiving" because we thank our Creator that such people once lived, and that their legacy is the unparalleled freedom we enjoy in this great country and much of the world.
Too often on Memorial Day we think only of our military patriots as having sacrificed for our freedoms, but there are millions of other unsung Americans who supported their efforts. And today, there are those who never wore the uniform of our country, but they, too, continue the fight to preserve the values we all cherish. Some of them will probably lead the effort to decorate graves and handle the myriad details of memorial services. Let's remember to say "thanks" to them, too.
Throughout the history of civilization, men and women of good will have honored their war dead. They have paid homage to those who went into Harms Way when their country called. If we expect future generations to answer the call of duty, this is a tradition that we must preserve. And it is fitting that we do so. All of us, veterans or not, have a duty to do what we can do to pass on to the next generation the blessings of liberty and an appreciation for the values of patriotism, honesty, charity, civility and diligence that provides the firm foundation for our freedoms.
On Memorial Day, we will celebrate the lives of our great patriots in many ways--family gatherings, memorial services, private moments at a graveside where a single rose or tiny American flag has been offered in remembrance. But as we remember those who paid the price to make our country, let us also remember that there is only one symbol that embodies all that they believed as Americans. That is our flag. I don't have to tell you what our flag means not only to us but also to freedom-loving people everywhere. And we can show our own support by showing our colors on this Memorial Day.
And not on Memorial Day only, but by flying our flag proudly from our homes, our churches and our places of business.Let's fly our flags to remind the world that it was our patriots that gave us freedom of the press. It was the blood of men and women of all races, creeds and religions who honored our flag as a banner of opportunity and freedom, and saw it as an ally against the forces of oppression.