By: Patrick Flannery
Representative, State of Kentucky
Over the past few weeks, I have used my column to share with you some of the legislation we passed during the 2023 Regular Session. This week, I would like to take a break from that and reflect on Memorial Day and those who have honored us with their service and defended us with their lives.
In the fast-paced world we live in, it can sometimes be reduced to just another three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer. While it does give us a chance to spend time with our families and get some rest, it is above all else a day to remember something that we can never forget – the American soldiers who have paid the ultimate price.
Originally known as Decoration Day, our nation first set aside a day to recognize those who sacrificed all for the sake of liberty just following the Civil War in 1868. What a powerful message they sent that just as they were rebuilding our war-torn nation and healing the wounds of families torn apart and a nation nearly destroyed, our ancestors chose to come together to honor and remember the men and women who answered America’s call to service and paid the ultimate price.
After the first Decoration Day service at Arlington Cemetery, more than 5,000 peopledecorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington. Generations later, volunteers across our state continue that tradition.
To me, Memorial Day is about more than just honoring their sacrifice; it is about passing down to the next generation those values, that commitment that forged this great nation at Lexington and Concord, and has preserved it through the battlefields of war for almost two and a half centuries. Memorial Day provides us with a reminder that we are part of something bigger, something better than just ourselves.
As we memorialize those who have served our nation, let’s remember that it is because they were willing to fight that we enjoy a high standard of living and personal freedoms unmatched anywhere in the world.
In America, we are never concerned that consumer goods will be in short supply. We never worry that the supermarket will be out of food or that a pair of work shoes can only be purchased on the black market. We are not required to carry special papers to travel from one state to another. We do not live in fear of being jailed or tortured because of our political or religious beliefs. These are very real concerns of people in other countries, but not here.
I appreciate the words of General George Patton when he said “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” Let us all do just that. From the very beginning, Memorial Day has been a time for Americans to stand together and say, “Thank you. We remember you. We are grateful to you.” Let us continue that tradition today.
Feel free to reach out any time through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181 or by email at Patrick.Flannery@lrc.ky.gov. Send me an email f you would like to receive regular email updates, send me an email. For more information, please visit the legislature’s website at legislature.ky.gov.