Sacrifice And Honor

Hamptons Editorial

There is certainly nothing wrong with rejoicing that the warm season has finally arrived.

That holds especially true in a resort community like ours, where so many of us earn our living catering to the visitors and summer guests who come for the sun and the beach and a little piece of paradise.

The transition from dank and cold to sunny skies is a natural elixir to cure depression. Kids rejoice they have a summer- long school pass; the fact that summer is a time of rejuvenation holds especially true in a farming community like ours.

It’s forgivable to think about parades and barbecues on Memorial Day. Surprisingly, many of us aren’t even aware of the day’s true meaning.

Originating in the years following the Civil War, Decoration Day became a federal holiday in 1971 officially named Memorial Day and observed on the last Monday in May. It is a day set aside to honor those in the Armed Forces who gave their lives while serving this country.

It is a somber day to be sure: honoring husbands, mothers, sons, daughters, fathers who left family behind, many to travel to distant shores and take up arms against those who threatened the American way. It takes a special kind of courage to stare down death, and the tragedy is more profound when we realize what might have been had conflict been avoided.

It is, however, comforting on one level: only the crème de la crème, the finest of the finest, have the courage to do what has to be done. Bravery is a word thrown about too loosely: our fallen veterans can lay claim to it, and precious few others.

So, beer, hot dogs, burgers, and country music can and should be the order of the day Monday. But take a private moment to look around at the paradise we call home and realize it came at a price — the ultimate price. They literally fought so we wouldn’t have to, and they gave not because they wanted to, but because someone with guts and honor had to. Despite all of the rhetoric we hear nowadays, few of us fit the bill.

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