Memorial Day is a welcome sight on our calendars. It signals the start of summer, the near completion of the school year, and the peak of the promised May flowers that come after the April showers. Above all, however, Memorial Day is a moment to reflect on the heroic sacrifices made by those who paid the ultimate price in military service for our country. The Armed Forces is public employment and has been a stepping stone into the middle class for generations of Americans. Enlisting and serving in the armed forces has positively changed the fortunes of countless American families dating back to the Civil War.
From that first Monday in May of 1865, when an interracial coalition of formerly enslaved people gathered with white missionaries to honor the the lives of Union soldiers lost in the Civil War until today, our country has come together with solemn reverence for each person that lost their life in the line of duty.
And while this holiday for most Americans is typically reserved for those in the Armed Forces, I feel it necessary to also acknowledge others that have made the ultimate sacrifice. I am reminded of that dreadful day on September 11, 2001. I am remembering the thousands of “First Responders” that acted without reservation attempting to save lives with no regard for their own. We cannot forget our fellow union heroes like Trina Cunningham, Marcus Parks, and many others who have lost their lives while on the job.
As public employees, we have a special understanding of how government service, be it federal, state, or local government, can change the fortunes of families. That awareness resonates with us a little more deeply because we know that so many gave their lives not only for their country, but so that their families could be more secure. We hold those lost veterans closely in our thoughts this Memorial Day.
So today, we hope you enjoy the hard-earned day off, but do so in remembrance of those who made this a day worth observing.
Happy Memorial Day!