‘Acknowledge those that forfeited their lives for us’

Memorial Day described by Webster new American Dictionary; A U.S. holiday celebrated in honor of dead soldiers and sailors: in most states it occurs on May 30, but in areas of Confederate States the holiday falls on various dates.

Memorial Day is not a day wrapped up in bunting and commemorated as if it were the Forth of July although our national colors have prominent place in its observance since its origin at the close of the Civil War.  The distinction has to do with what we are celebrating…not a glorious beginning but an honorable end…an end which, whether heroic or not, should be observed and remembered with solemnity and reverence.  Memorial Day is a day we dedicate to the dead…to remember those who fell in defense of this country and the ideas which this country stands for.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address; Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war… testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.  We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicated a portion of that final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate… we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.  The brave men living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our power to add of detract.  The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, to be dedicated here to unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us..that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion….that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain….that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people…by the people…for the people shall not perish from this earth.

Millie’s thought for today, our task is not to validate the sacrifice but to acknowledge those that forfeited their lives for us.  And if validation is necessary, it is for the living to prove that we are worthy of the sacrifice.

Mildred Higgins