BBQs, fishing, family gatherings, and lawn games are wonderful Memorial Day traditions, but I am thankful for the people who just helped me take one day out of the three-day weekend to restore to me the real reason for the weekend: to honor the men and women who died for our freedoms that we now enjoy in America.
Every year for the past six years, men and women from Hastings, Red Wing, and surrounding communities have marched — for them who died — 28 miles from Red Wing to Hastings. Only 13 of us marched this year but 20 to 30 more supported us by supplying food, water, Gatorade, and a shady place to rest every three miles.
Every mile was commemorated with a photo and brief bio of at least one veteran for whom we were marching that mile. At every three-mile rest point, Tom, who has organized the event every year, would tell us stories about the veterans he or others knew. Many of the veterans were casualties of Afghanistan or Iraq, and the loss of those lives were still keenly felt by those who marched.
I won’t forget the lesson I learned last Monday, and I pray that God gives me the wisdom and courage to speak out in defense of the freedoms for which they fought.
I truly hope others will join us next year, so they too will learn the same lesson.
Maybe then we can collectively reject the lure of college, medical care, housing, etc. that’s paid for by the government in exchange for the freedoms for which our veterans died.
If you are interested in joining us next year, Tom has set up a website -- www.marchforthem.org -- where you can volunteer for 2022 to march for them, our veterans or to lend support to the marchers.