A Few Words for Memorial Day

[May 31, 2021]  Memorial Day is not about honoring our living Veterans; it is honoring those who lost their lives.  Veterans like me had the good fortune of coming home.  For us, that’s a reminder that we still have a responsibility to serve when we come home.  It’s this continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending her.

Every year, I write a short article about Memorial Day.  Typically, it is published only locally, per my wishes.  This year, I am again posting it on my leadership blog.

Memorial Day, 31 MAY 2021:

The greatest things are the hardest things.  Originally known as Decoration Day, today’s Memorial Day originated shortly after the U.S. Civil War; a war that took the lives of more Americans than nearly all our wars combined.  Memorial Day is about remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the ideal of freedom.

Members of our military have traveled, lived, and fought around the world and, in doing so, have been witness to malevolent leaders who conquered and destroyed nations while extinguishing freedoms.  Graves of our brothers and sisters are scattered across this Earth where they fell in an effort to defend freedom and bring peace for others.  We remember them and will never forget them.

Two hundred years ago, a wise man named Goethe said, “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.”  It is our military that specializes in danger.  They run to danger!  They ride to the sound of the guns.  They go where no one would humanly want to go.  Yet, they do so. 

Why is it that so many of our military brethren, which we see as we travel across the United States, are willing to put themselves in danger?  Indeed, it is not from a sense of glory or desire for a ribbon on their uniform but from an honest desire to do what is right for our America.  We know this because we can see their graves.  And we know this from speaking to their brothers and sisters with whom they served.   

The greatest things, like freedom, are always the hardest things.  Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.  We yearn for it more than for anything else.  Memorial Day is that single day to remember that many of our warriors stood at the “tip of the spear” and died doing so.  We celebrate their sacrifice, their honor, their courage, and their commitment.  Yet, there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death before freedom is achieved.

For those who fell in service to our country, we set aside only one day.  On this Memorial Day, we must not forget their sacrifice – not today, not ever.  We must remember!

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

18 thoughts on “A Few Words for Memorial Day

  1. Shawn C. Stolarz

    In Memorial Day, a 2012 war film starring James Cromwell, Jonathan Bennett, and John Cromwell, a character recalls and relives memories of World War II. Just saw it yesterday. Okay for a movie.

  2. Tony B. Custer

    One way to honor the brave folks: learn a bit about the conflicts in which they gave their lives. Read a history, watch a documentary, talk to someone who was there (gently, if they are willing). Put yourself in there for a bit.

    1. Edward Kennedy III

      Bravery is uncommon. So is being strong. Let’s all be brave and strong.

  3. Wendy Holmes

    Memorial Day is a chance not only to remember the hundreds of thousands who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country, but also their families and friends who continue to grieve.

  4. Max Foster

    In normal times, for most Americans, Memorial Day conjures up the start of summer — beach and lake trips, barbecues, pool time, warm weather. Many don’t even stop to think about the purpose of the holiday. And those who do sometimes confuse Memorial Day with other holidays honoring veterans. But, with covid-19 leaving many Americans stuck at home or unable to enjoy these usual holiday celebrations, 2020 might be an opportunity to recall that Memorial Day is actually intended to be a day to remember those who died while serving in the military.

    1. Orange Man

      Hear Hear, thanks for putting it so eloquently. I too am a Vet. And, I’m proud of it. For those young folks who are considering the US military, join up now and don’t look back. Do your time and do so with honor. This is the legacy of those who died and were in uniform.

  5. Colleen Ramirez

    Honor. Remember. Never forget.
    Each year on Memorial Day Americans pause to remember the fallen and honor their sacrifice.

  6. Harold M. Smith II

    Like the many honorable first responders (police, fire, medical, emergency workers) who also run to the fight, our veterans have also done so. Let’s honor them all in our own way.

  7. Rev. Michael Cain

    May we all enjoy Memorial Day in the comfort of friends and family. But, also never forget the great sacrifice given by so few that so many may have freedom to marry, have kids, work at a job of our choosing, worship where and when we want, and to go about our private affairs as we see fit, and without interference from the govt.

    1. Frank Graham

      Well said, Rev. Cain. I hope others are paying attention to the comments here in Gen. Satterfield’s leadership forum. 😉

      1. Greg Heyman

        You got that right. Hope, however, is not a plan. Nor is it a good life philosophy. Let’s ensure those around us understand and appreciate the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for our country.

      2. Sadako Red

        I’m going to enjoy today. Yes, I served in the Army, Yes, my relatives and friends – nearly all – served in our nation’s armed forces. I know what it’s like to lose a friend. Up close and personal. Let’s truly honor our nation’s heroes the right way.

  8. Eric Coda

    Excellent article and well worthy of Memorial Day. 👀

  9. benrhodesatDOS

    My I extend my warmest appreciation for those now serving in uniform and to those who have served. I want to also extend my greatest admiration and honor to those who have fallen in service to our country and I will personally, forever keep them in my heart and pray for their souls.

  10. Dale Paul Fox

    Great message as we all expect from you Gen. Satterfield. Well written! Thank you and thanks to all our veterans. A special honor goes to those who served our nation and have lost their lives.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Thanks Paul, spot-on comment. Let’s never ever ever forget.

    2. Xavier Bordon

      It doesn’t take much to lose our freedoms. Many folks would rather have security and comfort than freedom. That is why great leadership is of the utmost importance. Today, in the US we have president who no longer believes in this worthy idea.


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