Memorial Day…Flag Day…Independence Day. One. Two. Three. Three Red-White-and-Blue holidays in a row. We can still celebrate that second and third one because of the first one in the list. As we gather to have picnics and games on this Memorial Day, let’s not forget the reason for the day. A “memorial” is something that causes us to remember. We won our freedom because of what was proclaimed on July 4, but have kept it because of what Memorial Day signifies. A precious price was paid. We are the land of the free because of the brave. Let us pause and remember that. Always.
One of Watauga’s jewels is Nettasue McKnight. She is an author, speaker, and gracious Southern lady. She has written eloquently of the holiday that is soon to be celebrated. Here are her thoughts.
“It was a Spring Sunday, 1942, in Augusta, Georgia, known as the Garden City of the South. Azaleas, camellias, gardenias, blooming in profusion perfumed the air and created a sense of normalcy, but nothing was normal.
Fort Gordon was training young Americans for war and shipping them out as fast as they passed the rudiments of warfare.
In the staid old First Baptist Church, known by art lovers for its Tiffany stained glass windows, the Pastor asked the congregation to remain seated long enough to witness the marriage of a young couple. Too young to marry, but old enough to know the grief of parting, they asked for the last few days of his leave together, and so they wed. He was killed in his first engagement. She experienced her first Memorial Day. The son she bore, now in his sixties, will celebrate the day in 2010 to honor the Father he never knew.
This story and others like it have filled the hearts of Americans and their descendents since WWI.
Memorial Day will celebrate rows of white crosses on foreign soil where Americans did what Americans do, gave their lives to secure the freedoms and rights of others. No other country has given so much.
As we approach this holiday, let us join together to honor what our Nation has done and commit to stop any cause or regime which will forbid the practice of our freedoms. Our generation is not called upon to bleed on Flanders Field or the beaches of Normandy, merely to stand up and be counted as Americans in the year 2010.”