A Memorial Day Tribute

There is no peace without justice, there is no justice without a fight.

During last few years, under the direction and mentoring in our LIFE personal development business, I have a new appreciation for the sacrifice and hard work it takes to preserve the freedoms we have experienced in the United States.  Unfortunately, we are losing freedoms from the inside of our country as brave men and women fight outside our borders.  This article is a tribute to remember those who lost their life in service of our country and as a reminder that there is no peace or justice without a fight.

Below is an article from a friend of mine, Ed Lump, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, as he describes the significance of Memorial Day in his life.

A day for remembering, Memorial Day has special significance:

 I fear that for most Americans, Memorial Day and Memorial Day weekend is a time to play or, as in the case of many in the restaurant industry, a time to work hard serving those people who are playing. Whether playing or working, everyone hopes that this is the beginning of a very enjoyable and prosperous summer season.

All this is good, but we often forget the real purpose of Memorial Day. This is a day set aside to remember America’s fallen heroes—those who died fighting our wars or keeping our peace.

Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day. On this day, Americans went to cemeteries to literally decorate the graves of the fallen.

I was born in 1942, and the earliest memories I have involve the great happiness at the safe arrival home of my father after serving in the Pacific. I also remember the horrible grief at the arrival home of my uncle’s body from Europe.

Forever seared into my memory was seeing my grandmother’s heart break. Recently, I was going through the family archives, and I came across my uncle’s obituary. It was one of six in the December 1944 parish news.

“Mr. and Mrs. Casper Lump . . . have received the sad news that their son Frank . . . has been killed in action in Germany on October 8, 1944. . . . He was inducted into the service on June 10, 1941, and had been overseas two years. He took part in the invasion of Africa, Sicily, France,Belgium and Germany with only one brief holiday which he spent in England.”

The June 11 issue of Mercy News contained the following item: Frank Lump writes from Britain. “We have seen a lot of combat and we sure needed a rest. My pal and I go to confession and communion and mass every Sunday. . . . We have seen a lot of combat and we have been in places I thought we would never get out of. We do a lot of praying. . . . It gets pretty tough up there on the front lines. Jerry is nobody’s dummy. He’s pretty smart but we are just a little smarter. . . .”

I remember going with my grandmother many times to “decorate” Frank’s grave. She planted flowers, we had lunch, we prayed. She cried and at times touched his grave marker with tenderness as if she was touching her baby’s forehead. As the years have passed I have come to treasure this sacred experience and memory.

The famous World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin reflected on the first Memorial Day ceremony he attended after the conclusion of the war. It took place at a military cemetery and the local commander was asked to address the gathering, which included dignitaries from Congress and soldiers.

He welcomed everyone and then instead of facing the crowd, he turned and faced the graves and spoke to the dead. He apologized for having to give orders that resulted in their deaths and thanked them for their sacrifice.

I hope that on Memorial Day each of us takes just a moment to stop what we are doing to remember the sacrifice the soldiers made and to thank them. They gave up their dreams so we can pursue ours.

God bless them, God bless you, and God bless America.

I pray you enjoy your freedoms this Memorial Day.  As you sip a beverage, eat something hot off the grill, or, splash in the water, remember that those freedoms came at a price.  Freedom always comes with a price and on Memorial Day we remember those that gave their life as that price.

From the men and women in the LIFE business – THANK YOU for your sacrifices!

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9 Responses to A Memorial Day Tribute

  1. Thank you for this post Matt! I am proud to be associated with a community of people that honors the men and women who are currently serving and those who have fought for our freedoms and shed their blood for us.

  2. Had to add on to my last post. As I was sitting in my house with the windows open reading I could hear the neighbors enjoying the night with family and friends. Suddenly it got silent and one of the teenage boys started playing his saxophone for all the neighborhood to hear. He started with “America the Beautiful,” then “The Star Spangled Banner,” then “God Bless the U.S.A” and finally “God Bless America.” It was absolutely beautiful and I had tears of joy coming down my face.

    It is humbling to see people living out their appreciation for freedom by honoring the men and women who died for this country. Thank you for doing the same by writing this post!

  3. Larry Wieberdink says:

    Matt,
    Thanks again for a great post. You continue to remind us to focus not only on the good, but on the great. Along with Kristen I too am proud to be associated with a community and among people who honor those who gave so much to preserve the freedoms we so much enjoy. This Memorial Day as we pause to honor those who sacrificed everything for our future we too need to take up the banner of freedom in our hearts and in our actions to passs forward the freedoms we so much appreciate.

    Larry Wieberdink

  4. Jen Ulrich says:

    I had never heard about “Decoration Day” before. How fitting of a title! I kinda wish they hadn’t changed it.

    It was very moving to be at a local parade yesterday and see just how many vets were in such a small little town. To watch each one ride by in their decorated car was a different experience for me this year. Each one of those men (again, small town, didn’t see any female vets!) fought for ME. They don’t even KNOW me. They don’t know my two little boys. But every single one of them had a dream in their hearts that every American deserved the right of freedom–and they were willing to endure physical, mental, emotional and spiritual horrors in order to preserve that freedom. Countless men and women sacrificed their lives for me. Me! And they don’t even know me! They served me and every other citizen of this country, past, present and future, because it was the right thing to do. God bless them!

  5. rjfisher1 says:

    Thanks for this post Matt! I am so thankful to the many who gave or were willing to give their life, that we might have a homeland to fight for from the inside as you say. They did the heavy lifting and I pray that enough people will take seriously the state of affairs we find ourselves in currently and each do our part here, as well. I am encouraged by many who are growing themselves, that as we band together we can effect the changes necessary to be sure that the sacrifices of the service men and women were not in vain.

  6. Josh Meinel says:

    Great article Ed! Thanks for sharing this Matt.

  7. Kristina Meinel says:

    “They gave up their dreams so we can pursue ours.” thanks for the reminder.

  8. Chris Brady says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Matt! It is so humbling when considering the life we enjoy due to the sacrifices of so many…including their families.

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