For most, this Memorial Day weekend is a respite — a time for family, friends, and the beginning of summer. It is most assuredly important to enjoy and embrace a hard won freedom. However, let us not forget those who stood boldly in the hot fire of their convictions, whereby they gave all of themselves to preserve a sovereignty and a freedom. Few words encapsulate the weight of this sentiment quite like the following letter from 1864:
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannon refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln“Letter from President Lincoln”. Boston Evening Transcript. 25 November 1864. p. 2. Retrieved 6 April 2016 – via Google Newspapers.
For most of us, the heavy hand of these dangerous deeds is so very far away. Nonetheless, may the memory of those mighty souls ever whisper in remembrance upon the free air of our lives of peacefulness and abundance. On Memorial Day, always remember.