Memorial day marks the start of the summer, the Big Bake as I call it.
For me, Mississippi has the ideal climate. The average temperature for the entire year, day or night, summer or winter, is 68 degrees. You can’t get more perfect than that.
Plus you have the change in seasons. I relish this variety. I couldn’t stand to live in a place where the seasons never changed.
Just when I get sick of the cold, it heats up. Just when I get sick of the heat, it cools down. Perfect.
Memorial Day is a low-key, pleasant holiday. For many Northsiders, it’s time to hit the South Walton County, Florida beaches for a family vacation.
For those in town, grilling out, golf, tennis, something relaxing and easy is in order. Nice times had by all.
It’s easy to forget the purpose of Memorial Day — to remember and honor those who gave their lives so we could enjoy a simple, pleasant, peaceful three-day weekend vacation. Our pleasant weekend was paid for with lakes of blood from young people in the prime of their lives.
Over 1.2 million Americans died fighting for our country. About half of those soldiers died in combat. The other half died from accidents, disease and other wartime hazards.
For every soldier who died during wartime, 50 served and lived. We honor them on Veterans Day in November.
By far, two wars contributed the most to those deaths: The Civil War and WWII. Those two wars produced 90 percent of the U. S. war time fatalities. For every fatality, the U. S. suffered an additional wounded soldier.
The Civil War ended slavery. World War II ended Fascism. The blood was not spilled in vain.
If ever a war was a battle between good and evil, the last major war was. Can you imagine if Hitler had been victorious? What would the world be like? To think the Germans were just a few years from developing the atomic bomb.
We live by the providence of God. Given the stupidity and sinfulness of man, there is no other rational explanation. We can take comfort that all these men who died in battle were in the hands of a merciful Lord.
Since the founding of our country, there have been about 500 million Americans. So every soldier that died gave 500 Americans a chance to live in freedom. That’s worth remembering.
With a professional military and no major wars in two generations, it’s easy to forget. When I turned 16, I received a letter from the government notifying me to register for the draft. That was one year before the Vietnam War ended. Over 55,000 men lost their lives in that war.
Soldiers still die in battle. Seven thousand men have died in our recent battles in the Middle East. Injuries there have been extremely high in proportion to fatalities. Fifty thousand young Americans have been injured there. These men need to be taken care of by our government. It is inexcusable that many of them struggle in poverty.
War has changed since World War II, which killed an unfathomable sixty million people, three percent of the total population of the world. Half died in battle, half to famine and disease.
Now we have weapons of mass destruction. One hydrogen bomb dropped on a big city would kill millions instantly and millions later. So far, that hasn’t happened. We pray to God it never happens. In the meantime, these terrible weapons have prevented the recurrence of another world war. There are no winners in a nuclear holocaust.
Wikipedia states that “the history of Memorial Day in the United States is complex. The U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs recognizes that approximately 25 places claim to have originated the holiday.”
Jackson is listed as one of the possible originators of Memorial Day. “On April 26, 1865, in Jackson, Mississippi, Sue Landon Vaughan supposedly decorated the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers. However, the earliest recorded reference to this event did not appear until many years after. Regardless, mention of the observance is inscribed on the southeast panel of the Confederate Monument in Jackson, erected in 1891.”
In small towns throughout Mississippi local volunteers still place flags on the tombstones of military veterans.
The fight for freedom never ends. If called to the task, I have no doubt our current generation of young people would rise to the occasion and defend our country as nobly as the generations past. It’s in our DNA. It’s in our soul. It’s in our destiny.
We have only to look toward our southern border to witness the fragility of freedom and liberty. In the last year, 60 Mexican political candidates have been killed by gangs. Abel Murietta, candidate for mayor of the northern city of Ciudad Obregon, was running on an anti-crime, anti-gang platform. He was a former state attorney general. He was gunned down in the street with 10 shots from two gang members. Mexico has no freedom.
In Russia, Alexei Navalny has been jailed over fake charges after a YouTube video he produced exposed massive corruption throughout the Putin administration. There is no freedom in Russia.
China jails and persecutes Christians. Millions of Muslims living in China have been jailed and brainwashed in re-education camps. China has jailed journalists and protesters in Hong Kong and turned that once-free city into a prison for dissenters. There is no freedom in China.
Christians and government critics are persecuted and jailed, even killed, in the Middle East. There is no freedom there. In fact, most of the world is not free. Liberty is a precious blessing.
Sixty-six journalists were killed worldwide in 2020.
If not for freedom in America, I would have been gunned down as I walked out of my office a long time ago for exposes and criticisms of our government and business leaders.
I am alive today because of the blood of those who died protecting my freedom.