This weekend, the Memorial Day holiday, is filled with activities and fun and it marks the beginning of easier days — lazier, less stressful, sunnier, summer days are just around the bend. It’s a time when the Weston community comes together to play at the fair, to eat hotdogs at the firehouse, to cheer the accomplishments of kids and adults alike as they march by in the parade or run by in the road race. But most of all, it’s a day — now, in our 21st Century culture, an entire weekend — to remember.
We first and foremost remember those who lost their lives in service to our great country. As we thank their brethren who stood by their side in the hardest, most awful conditions, we acknowledge the absence of so many — too many — who died in combat.
We remember those the fallen have left behind. Mothers and fathers who lost sons and daughters and sons and daughters who have lost mothers and fathers. Those who have served and died are missed by their families, friends, neighbors, fellow soldiers, their teachers, classmates, and community. We offer up our condolences to those who have had to live with an irreparable loss.
We remember those who returned from war changed, scarred, some stronger for their experience, some wounded by it in ways we will never know. We thank them for their sacrifices.
We remember, too, the enemies the fallen fought against. We do not lessen the respect we show for our war dead, for our veterans and our heroes, by acknowledging the terrible cost of war worldwide. We honor all of those who died in war by working our hardest to avoid it at all costs and by calling it what it is: the worst thing human beings do.
We remember on this holiday weekend words like: Freedom. Liberty. Pride. Family. Country. Hope. We remember these words were more than just words when soldiers gave their lives for them.
While mourning our losses, we also remember and celebrate our victories — global victories that ensured cruel dictators did not fulfill their horrific visions. But we also remember our personal victories, battles we and our loved ones have fought successfully and are waging every day — battles against cancer, hopelessness, loneliness, illness, injustice, cruelty, fear, financial ruin, emotional collapse and so much more. Every day we overcome hardship of any kind, we are victorious.
We remember, too, that a solemn day does not have to be a sad day. The holiday is cause for celebration. We gather with family and friends, share food and stories, play and sing and dance and enjoy the freedoms our country affords us. We remember that the freedom to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is the very foundation of our country which has shaped who we are and what we may be.