Approximately one million men and women of the U.S. military have lost their lives in defense of our nation since the founding of this great Republic. For many, Memorial Day weekend signifies the start of summer. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook the significance of Memorial Day, and what it means to all of us. This coming Monday, May 25, our country will honor all of the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. During World War I, the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, including World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I anticipate for many, this Memorial Day weekend will look vastly different than previous ones. With social distancing efforts in place to slow down the spread of COVID-19, Memorial Day parades and events have been canceled, but this doesn’t mean that Memorial Day is cancelled - far from it.
I encourage every Navy Reservist this weekend, no matter where you are, no matter your circumstances, to spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the freedoms that we enjoy today. Take time with your families to talk about the meaning of Memorial Day and why it is important. Read some of the stories posted this week on our Facebook page about Navy Reservists who made the ultimate sacrifice. Lastly, use this weekend to focus on your own values of military service; remind yourself of your oath, and what it means to be a citizen-Sailor.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend Shipmates.
Rear Admiral John Schommer,
Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command