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Reflections on Memorial Day

“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....”

-Abraham Lincoln

Memorial Day is the time of year when we honor those who have given their lives for our freedom and liberty while serving their country. Abraham Lincoln delivered this quote in his Gettysburg Address. It says it all that needs to be said.

The origins of Memorial Day are many. Some say it was in Charleston SC, others say it was Waterloo, NY. Folks in Columbus, MS, say it was started there. I visited the cemetery in Columbus many years ago and was touched by what I learned.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and started a year after the Civil War ended. Just about everybody agrees on that.

The Mississippi story says it began with the help of four women from Columbus, Mississippi. According to historians, this group of women visited the Columbus Friendship Cemetery in 1866 to lay wreaths and flowers on the graves of both the Confederate and Union soldiers.

“The symbolism of this was really powerful,” Michael Stoll, with the Old Capitol Museum, said. “The Civil War had just ended the year prior. There was still a lot of bitterness (and) still a lot of sectional strife between the North and the South, and for these women to do this, to recognize the veterans for both the North and the South was a major gesture for reconciliation.”

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. I watched a special on D-Day and the Normandy invasion the other night and found myself in tears. We need to thank God each and every day for what those troops encountered and endured in the fight against Nazi Germany.

The D-Day invasion is significant because it marked the turning point in the war for the Allies. The Day 1 casualties were more than 10,000. It is believed that 4,400 of the 10,000 were killed. Less than a year later, the Nazis formally surrendered ending the war in Europe.

I hope that we can all come together to honor the men and women who have died in the fight for freedom. There’s no room for politics on a day like this. Those who have given their lives were of all colors, races, gender and religions. They died fighting for a cause they believe in.

Until next time.

Bobby

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