I once saw a Memorial Day cartoon depicting a car passing an ignored military cemetery alongside a well-travelled country road. Not even noticing the cemetery, the driver says, to his wife: “Blanket? Cooler? Grill? Hot dogs? Did I forget anything?”
Yes, he did. Like his countrymen who neglected the cemetery, he forgot to remember why he had the day off.
In an effort to revitalize interest in honoring all military men and women who died in the service of their country, a Presidential Proclamation was issued in 2000 establishing a “National Moment of Remembrance” and declaring:
Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation’s freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day [by encouraging] Americans everywhere to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.
Including those who died in the first half of 2011, more than 600,000 countrymen have been killed fighting for their country. A moment of solemn reflection is such a tiny payment for such a great service. And if you miss the opportunity at 3 p.m., please find another time to express your gratitude.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.