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Memorial Day and this great gift called America
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It’s Saturday. To most of us, it means the start of a three-day weekend to enjoy family, shopping or travel.
Maybe we’ll hit the Delta or shop for clothes today, worship at the church of our choice Sunday and do yard work Monday.
And, oh yeah, it’s Memorial Day weekend.
Anyone want to take a shot at why we have a holiday Monday?
It’s more than simply honoring those who died wearing our countries uniforms. It’s a day we can reflect on the great sacrifice thousands have made over the past 241 years so we can live in a land where we are free to raise our families, free to shop where we choose, free to travel, free to pursue recreational activities, free to worship as we choose and free to essentially do what we want as long as it doesn’t tread on the rights of others.
Friends and family of the five men who have come to represent Manteca’s war sacrifices — Hope McFall (World War I), Kenneth Grisham (World War II), Gordon Thomas (Korean War), Brock Elliott (Vietnam War), and Charles O. Palmer II — know the price all too well. Sixty-three men who called Manteca home died at war. The five listed happened to be the first to die in each war.
There are, of course, thousands of others who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and Americans embracing the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness with the gusto most of us will experience this weekend.
We need to all take a moment on Monday to reflect on what it costs to be a free nation.
There are various ways we can do this.
One is attending the Memorial Day ceremonies at 10 a.m. at East Union Cemetery, Louise Avenue and Union Road, at 10 a.m. at the Manteca Veterans Center on Moffat Boulevard, 10 a.m. at Lathrop’s Valverde Park, 10 a.m. at Park View Cemetery in French Camp, or 10:30 a.m. at the Ripon Cemetery.
Another way is to proudly display Old Glory in honor of those who died to keep the flickering candle of freedom alive.
But perhaps the most important gesture we can all make is to reflect for a few minutes on what made it possible for this nation to prosper and thrive under democratic principles and individual freedoms too many of us take for granted. The idea of liberty, freedom, and democracy has been around for more than a millennium. It took the blood of men and women, though, over the past several centuries to finally make those three concepts a universal reality at least for Americans.
And when you finish reflecting, share your thoughts with a youngster so they can learn to value and treasure this great gift called America that men like Hope McFall, Kenneth Grisham, Gordon Thomas, Brock Elliott, and Charles O. Palmer II protected with their lives.