Friday, May 27, 2011

GUEST COLUMN: "Remembering This Memorial Day" by St. Rep. Danny Bubp

St. Rep. Danny Bubp (R, OHD-88)
By St. Rep. Danny Bubp

Family barbecues, community get-togethers, and time spent in the warmth of the sun are all hallmarks of summertime in Ohio, kicked off every year on Memorial Day.   While Memorial Day is a day to ring in summer, its true purpose is much more solemn and meaningful—it is a day for us to commemorate America’s fallen soldiers, lost to us over the years of U.S. war and conflict.  These brave men and women paid the ultimate price on the battlefield, giving their lives so that we can live in peace and liberty.  We can all rest easily knowing that our armed forces are protecting our security and freedom with constant vigilance and unmatched dedication.
Setting aside a special day to recognize our country’s fallen heroes dates back to the Civil War era, and it has gradually evolved into the Memorial Day that we now know. Honoring all U.S. troops lost in the midst of war, dying to protect our freedoms and rights, is one of the most humbling experiences we can have as Americans. Having been deployed as a member of the Marine Corps, this day is especially moving to me. It has taken root in our American identities since its origin, resonating strongly in our hearts as we pay respect to our fallen heroes year after year.
Our familiar Memorial Day traditions keep the spirit of reflection alive.  Decorating the graves of soldiers remains a powerful reminder of individuals’ sacrifices for our freedom, and flying the flag at half-mast shows our united gratitude for those lost on the battlefield.  The National Moment of Reflection held at 3 p.m. lets us take time to think about the sacrifices of all American service members over the years, from the courageous militia of the American Revolution who died to establish a land of freedom to those in the Middle East who gave their lives to give us peace and liberty at home.  At this moment, we offer our eternal, united gratitude.
I am continually touched by soldiers’ willingness to stand between us and the enemy, putting their lives on the line for our safety.  In some ways, it may feel that one day out of the year is not enough to properly honor our dead.  Through civic engagement, we can pay respect to our lost soldiers by upholding the rights and freedoms they died to protect.  By simply casting a vote on Election Day or meeting with representatives in town-hall meetings, we can honor our fallen heroes by continuing the process of American democracy.
Memorial Day falls on May 30th this year, marking the anniversary of our nation’s very first Decoration Day.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone attending parades, laughing with their families, and proudly flying Old Glory.  However, we must remember to keep the true meaning of Memorial Day in our hearts and minds amidst the celebration.  The sacrifices made by brave American soldiers are too great to go unrecognized.