Take a Moment to Reflect This Memorial Day

One of the most sacred of all national holidays is Memorial Day. This day serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by military personnel who lost their lives in service to their country. Memorial Day traces its origins back to the Civil War, one of the most violent conflicts in American history. The day began spontaneously as various communities held tributes to fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and flags. Originally known as Decoration Day, it was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, when General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day of remembrance for those killed in the Civil War. 

Over time, as the U.S. engaged in other conflicts, the day evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. At 3 p.m. on Monday, the nation observes a National Moment of Remembrance. This minute of silence represents a personal opportunity for Americans to reflect on the sacrifices made for their freedoms—reinforcing the day’s deeper purpose beyond the onset of summer and recreational activities. 

I encourage families to take an opportunity to talk to their children about service and sacrifice. These men and women left behind families, friends, and futures to answer the call of duty. Their courage and dedication are etched into the very fabric of our national identity. As educators and students, it is vital that we acknowledge and honor these sacrifices, ensuring that their legacy lives on through our collective memory and gratitude. The younger generations need to understand the significance of the liberties they enjoy and the price paid to secure them. 

At Colorado Academy, we aim to foster a deep understanding of the values that underpin this observance. Service, in its truest form, involves putting others before oneself. It is a principle that extends beyond the military to every aspect of our lives. We ask so much of our servicemen and women. It can be heartbreaking to hear their stories, but, at the same time, inspiring. 

Currently, our military is an all-volunteer force. These young men and women make the decision to serve our nation, protect our interests, and stand up for our values as a nation—liberty, justice, and democracy. Their sacrifice embodies the willingness to give up something valuable for the greater good. It is a concept that challenges us to consider what we can contribute and is such an important message to convey to our students and community. Let us consider how we can carry their legacy of selflessness and courage in our own lives.

There are few interesting places to learn more about the stories of our fallen heroes. StoryCorps has a site with audio recordings and videos that share the accounts of families and their memories of their loved ones who died in service to our nation. The World War II Museum also has a website devoted to Memorial Day.

May we all find a way to contribute to our communities and country, inspired by those whom we honor on Memorial Day.