Make Memorial Day Meaningful

  • Published
  • By Col. Jeffrey Holland, 75th Air Base Wing commander

HILL AIR FORCE BASE – Memorial Day stands alone among military-affiliated holidays. While Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day honor the living, Memorial Day exists to honor those who “gave their last full measure of devotion.”

It is a day where we forge a spiritual connection with the fallen, a communion of reverence and gratitude. In the clamor of parties and barbecues, we must pause to truly understand what Memorial Day means. Memorial Day is a sacred day. It is not simply a break from work or an opportunity for fleeting leisure.

Memorial Day calls us to remember the lives of our brothers and sisters whose lives are etched upon countless white crosses, solemn reminders of lives extinguished in service to our nation.

We must venture beyond the customary routines, away from the allure of “Start of Summer” sales and commercial celebrations and embark on a journey of remembrance.

If you are able, visit an American Battle Monument Commission cemetery or memorial. Visit the hallowed grounds, where heroes rest beneath the fertile soil, their valorous spirits forever interwoven with our nation's fabric. Read their names, run your fingers along the letters carved in stone, and allow their stories to seep into your soul.

Locally, join Governor Cox, Senator Romney, the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs and the Utah National Guard at the Capitol and allow the piercing precision of the 21-gun salute to reverberate in your soul.

Wander Memory Grove Park near the Capitol’s grounds, pausing to commemorate the sacrifices made by Utah’s families as you note the noble moments placed throughout the gardens.

Moreover, let us extend our remembrance beyond a single day. Embrace the legacy left by our fallen brethren by supporting their families, ensuring that their sacrifice is not forgotten. Honor their memory through acts of service, embodying the spirit of selflessness they exemplified.

Memorial Day serves as a steadfast reminder that freedom is not free. It demands our reverence, our solemnity and our unwavering commitment to the ideals that brave men and women died defending.

Though the sun will set on Memorial Day, the day exists to fan the flame of remembrance in our hearts. Let us answer the call with gratitude, humility and a steadfast commitment to never forget.

In the silence of our souls, amidst the echoes of the fallen, we find solace, purpose, and an unbreakable bond with those who have gone before us. This is Memorial Day – a day to remember, to reflect, and to ensure that the torch of freedom burns eternally bright.