Mark Archibald.jpg

Mark Archibald is a Daily Sun columnist. His column, On the Mark, runs in the Friday edition of the Daily Sun.

During his farewell address to Congress, General Douglas MacArthur said that old soldiers never die, they simply fade away. I’m not one to contradict an American General, but the idea that those who wear the uniform will eventually fade from our collective memory is unsettling.

Those who died in service to our nation, deserve to be remembered and revered because those individuals and their loved ones made tremendous sacrifices. Sacrifices which allow future generations to enjoy freedom, family gatherings or another activities, even on Memorial Day.

The somber tone of the National holiday set aside to honor the country’s war dead doesn’t seem to resonate as strongly as it once had. Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originating after the Civil War, is now commonly referred to as the unofficial beginning of summer. Unfortunately, Memorial Day has become commercialized – an excuse to lower prices of mattresses or other wares.

General George Patton, said it is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived. Going to the cemetery or Memorial Day observance isn’t compulsory in the United States. As with many other decisions, the choice to participate or attend these observances is available because of the freedoms protected on the battlefield.

I understand that people mean well, but I along with others are uneasy with the phrase “Happy Memorial Day.”

On this subdued occasion, might I suggest the substitution of “Always remember” instead?

Aside from the day my father died, Memorial Day might be the toughest on the calendar. The melody of Taps is beautiful and heart wrenching, as it is plays during ceremonies, loss and pride come into focus. With each note the finality becomes clearer. No matter how often I hear the bugle call. I am stirred to emotion.

I was honored to attend a Memorial Day observance here in Navarro County. Sage and Seth Easley performed an outstanding rendition of Echo Taps. Tim Easley, the Navarro County Veterans Service Officer, remarks about those who gave their lives rang true. We must always remember those who have gone before.

I am thankful to live in the greatest country in the world, where I have the ability to disagree from a seated position. Given my physical limitations, and Catholic baptism, I owe my existence to members of the Greatest Generation, they defeated tyranny and the hateful rhetoric of those who desired a perfect Arian race.

United States history is fraught with times of tension and disagreement. The genesis of war can rarely be narrowed to a single cause, but fighting is done by a younger generation who give their blood and bodies to find a political solution to problems previously left to fester.

Americans have died on battlefields across the country and in faraway places. The dignity of military honors, accompanied by the presentation of a folded flag and the playing of Taps, often comforts a grieving family.

The commitment that we shall always remember helps to reassure them, as well as bind our nation.