Since the Civil War over 33,000 men and women with ties to Massachusetts have died in battle or while on active duty. By any measure that is a number that shows the enormity of war and the toll it takes on those who serve.
33,000 soldiers giving their life for their country; 33,000 soldiers never having the opportunity to live out their lives; 33,000 soldiers never seeing their loved ones again.
Memorial Day is coming and in many respects it is a day of both celebration and sadness as we Americans take the time to remember the sacrifice of these men and women.
Although celebrate may seem like the wrong word to use, it indeed captures what we the living, the free, the safe should feel for the contributions of these citizen soldiers. We live a good life because of them, so we should celebrate our good fortune because of what they did to make this country what it is today. Without their sense of duty and patriotism, the United States would certainly be a much different country.
Of course those who lost a loved one during any of these wars will feel a deep sadness over their loss; it is impossible to forget a loved one who is no longer part of a family as a father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter.
So as we prepare for Memorial Day we should celebrate these brave heroes with parades, visits to cemeteries,and certainly with many, many American flags. But on this national holiday it is important not to forget that this is a day also of sadness for these men and women who gave their lives for a higher cause, for the good of their beloved nation, for us. They died honorably in defense of liberty; they are the epitome of what it is to be an American.
It is incumbent upon all of us not to forget these soldiers. Yes we should celebrate their service, their gift to us, but in that celebration we should remember that with that gift came sadness and left a huge void that can never be filled.
Thanks to all the fallen. May all of us in Massachusetts celebrate and honor their sacrifice.