On Memorial Day the flag of the United States is hoisted to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it stays until noon. Then it is raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day.
The half-staff position reminds us of the men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. The significance of raising the flag at noon is that their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain. Rather, the living rise up in their place to continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
Counting all those who’ve died in wars and conflicts over the last 231 years, from the Revolutionary War to the Iraq War, along with the covert and overt operations such as Grenada, Panama, Mogadishu and the Balkans, you end up with a tally of more than 1.346 million men and women who’ve given their lives to protect the freedoms and interests of the United States of America.
Memorials to our war dead, such as Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall and the World War II Memorial, all in Washington, D.C., are solemn, reverential reminders of the sacrifices made by our military throughout history.
If you know of a departed veteran, take time to place flowers on their grave today and reflect on the freedom you have and the part they played in helping maintain it.