In 1864, Abraham Lincoln penned a letter to a grieving mother who had lost multiple sons on the battlefield. The letter reads, in part:
“I pray that our heavenly father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
This gift of freedom we enjoy comes at the highest possible cost; it’s a price so high that it will never be paid in full. Decade after decade, the nation’s fallen have been laid to rest in boxes draped in red, white, and blue. Decade after decade, their loved ones have poured out the anguish of their bereavement beside these boxes.
Freedom is precious, but it’s anything but free.
This Memorial Day, I think of those I know by name who have paid that price. I think of their loved ones who carry the loss in their hearts every single day. And I know that this day – contrary to the customary greeting – is anything but happy.
On this day- especially on this day-I think of what they have laid on the alter of freedom…
and it gets to me.
But there are others – thousands upon thousands – who have also paid the price for me. They are strangers, with faces and names I never knew, who willingly safeguarded my freedom with their very lives.
On this day, I think of their gift, their sacrifice, their families ….
and it gets to me.
This weekend, somewhere in between your beach-going and your BBQing, and your binge-watching …
let it get to you,too.
On this holiday, this day of solemn remembrance,
take a moment to bow your head with a prayer of thanks, or raise a glass in a salute of gratitude. Visit a gravestone, reach out to a widow, or make a fitting donation to a worthy organization.
Find a way to honor the fallen and remember those they left behind.
For our freedom some gave all…
Let that get to you.