The Ultimate Sacrifice

Memorial Day: The Price of Freedom remembered on our nation’s most solemn holiday in the Heart of Texas

IREDELL -- Still embracing the early tradition of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths and flags, Americans remembered those who have died in service to our country on Memorial Day 2020.

Originally known as Decoration Day, which originated in the years following the Civil War, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971, to be recognized on the last Monday in May.

While some may have taken a holiday off from COVID-19 restrictions this year, flocking to the beaches and lakes in a celebration of the unofficial beginning of summer, others paid tribute to the nation’s fallen soldiers by placing flags on graves of those that paid the ultimate price of freedom by losing their lives.

Many know the passage in the Holy Bible from John 15:13, which states “Greater love hath no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” saying that every soldier, sailor, airman, marine and Coast Guard member exemplifies that love for the nation every day.

Throughout United States history, soldiers and civilians have laid down their lives for freedom and democracy. Memorial Day represents the ultimate holiday to remember that freedom is not free, how much it costs and how much it is worth.

Military lives lost in the wars the United States has been involved in are approximately 25,000 in the Revolutionary War; 655,000 in the Civil War; 116,500 in World War I; 405,400 in WWII; 36.500 in the Korean Conflict; 58,200 in the Vietnam War; 4,575 in Iraq and 2,200-plus in Afghanistan. These numbers do not include those wounded and forever maimed by war, nor those lost through suicide after suffering the horrors of war.

Memorial Day also recognizes that the price of freedom is also paid by those families left behind, paid by those who come home from war, but carrying a heavy burden with visible and invisible scars.

“On Memorial Day, we honor the servicemen and women who have given their lives in defense of this country.  U.S. Senator John Cornyn said this year in an open letter to Texans. “As we remember the fallen servicemen and women of the U.S. Armed Forces today, I ask you to join me in thanking the families of the fallen who have the hardest job of all in supporting the service of their loved ones and bearing the burden of their loved ones’ sacrifice.”

Many communities are using Memorial Day to not just honor the fallen soldiers, but all those who served their country.

On the Saturday prior to Memorial Day, a group from the Bosque Area Christian Homeschoolers continued an ongoing tradition of placing United States flags on the graves of servicemen at the Mitchell Cemetery and Riverside Cemetery, both in Iredell.

“We enjoy honoring our soldiers and their service,” Event Organizer Tammy Tergerson said. “It is a commitment we like to keep, to remember the commitment they had to their country.”

Tergerson also uses the history locked in the headstones to teach her daughters about the history surrounding the different wars and conflicts.

In spite of current COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 National Memorial Day Concert continued a 31-year tradition of honoring and remembering the nation’s troops, veterans, wounded warriors and their families. The normally live concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol was replaced with a live streaming broadcast, including patriotic music and tributes by actors and artists from all over the country.

For those who missed it, it can be viewed in full on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0LUUK7smGI.

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Taps being played on the steps of the Capitol Building. (Courtesy Photo)

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

©2020 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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