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Archive for May, 2010

In The Company Of Heroes

Arlington National Cemetery

It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. For most it means nothing more than an extra day off from the daily grind.

I’d like to urge you, to take an hour or two over the course of this extended weekend to get back to the true meaning of this holiday. If only for a short while. This post will be sprinkled with many links to allow you to do just that.  For example, you can visit this site (http://www.cem.va.gov/) and click on the link, just below the picture “Find a 2010 Memorial Day Ceremony.” to find an official celebration near you.

When I was young, my grandparents and parents still called it by it’s original name: Decoration Day.  A day to honor the military dead and decorate their graves.

Indeed, at one cemetery especially dear to my heart, men and women have been working  hard this past week to decorate the graves of those who have served our country well.  That cemetery is Arlington National Cemetery,  just over the river from the center of Washington, DC.  When I lived in the area, it was a mandatory stop on Steve’s tour of DC. My eyes welled with tears at the thought that I was, indeed, walking on hallowed ground. I was in the company of many thousands of men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice so that I may enjoy the life I have.

Especially poignant was a trip to Tomb of The Unknown Soldiers where you watch, what is to me, one of the most impressive displays of military honor that I could ever hope to see.   That is the soldiers who guard the tomb, continuously. Night and Day. 24-7. Always. Through storms and cold and heat and blizzards and even a hurricane, the tomb remains guarded by these select few: The Tomb Guard. The best of the best. The cream of the crop. (It’s a good thing I’ve got a box of Kleenex by my side.)

In Washington, DC you’ll find many more monuments in tribute to our fallen heros. There’s the Korean War Memorial, The Wall (Vietnam Veterans Memorial) and (the newest) the World War II Memorial (which I have yet to see in person) to name a few.  Google any of these to learn more.

But, you don’t have to live or go to Washington, DC. There are “official” military cemeteries located throughout the United States. They’re called “National Cemeteries.” My friends near Wilmington, NC will find one there.  To find one in your state, or maybe in your own town, just click here. Or, just visit almost any cemetery this weekend and you’ll be sure to see many graves with an American Flag proudly waving. A token of appreciation for their service to our country.  Walk up to one of those graves and pause for a moment to say, “Thanks!”

There are two other organizations I’d like to introduce you to. That’s the Military Order of The Purple Heart and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  Their oldest living recipient, John Finn, died on Thursday at the age of 99. Visit them.  If you’re a web designer, you’ll find the Congressional Medal of Honor Society site appealing for design as well.

Better yet, why not expand your horizons and the meaning of this holiday to meet or honor a military hero.  They’re all around us. Walk in to any VFW or American Legion Post or Elks Lodge and you’ll likely find some elderly gentlemen (a few ladies, too) with some incredible stories to tell.  Perhaps you have one in your own family (Thanks Lester and Craig!).  Or maybe it’s your neighbor.  (Thank You Charlie!) I ask you to be especially cognizant, this weekend, for a chance to say “Thanks for your service!”

Have a safe holiday!

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Posted by Steve Maziarz - May 29, 2010 at 7:28 am

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