Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day.
It was a day set aside for us to honor those who died preserving the Union in the Civil War.
It was called Decoration Day for the act of decorating the graves of deceased soldiers with flowers.
It is unknown when Decoration Day first became Memorial Day. It could be that Decoration Day and Memorial Day were celebrated concurrently in different parts of the North for many years until World War I.
The South refused to acknowledge the May 30 honoring their dead on separate days until after World War II.
At any rate, the "Memorial" in Memorial Day has certainly gotten lost in all the hype of fast cars racing around an oval track and parade celebrating television personalities and celebrities.
Freedom isn't free ... it costs and it costs plenty.
Over the years, more than 42 million (that's 42,000,000) American men and women have served this great country in time of war.
Here are some statistics detailing the causalities of some of the major wars in our countries' history. (Note: These statistics are from the Department of Defense):
* World War I, 1917-18 -- 116,516,
* World War II, 1941-46 -- 405,399,
* Korean War, 1950-53 -- 36,574,
* Vietnam, 1965-75 -- 58,209,
* Afghanisan, 2001-present -- 1,026, and
* Iraq, 2003-present -- 4,381.
Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance.
Memorial Day isn't just another day off work.
Far too often, the nation as a whole, takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. These freedoms are paid for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. By honoring the nation's war dead, we preserve their memory, thus their service and sacrifice.
Since the late 1950s, soldiers of the United States 3rd Infantry Brigade place American flags at each of the 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery the Thursday before Memorial Day.
They then patrol the cemetery 24 hours during the Memorial Day weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.
With two wars underway, we as a nation, have no excuse not to remember.