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Junior Sophia Bazzett's Essay, What Memorial Day Means to Me

Sophia Bazzett                               American Flag

What Memorial Day Means to Me
By Sophia Bazzett
Matthew Cleary Post American Legion Essay Contest Winner

The meaning of Memorial Day lies beneath the surface. Any patriotic citizen can state their appreciation for the freedom they have obtained from a heroic soldier in a distant land, but it is not such a simple task to truly visualize the unimaginable number of Americans who have given their lives, the ultimate sacrifice, for us. How can we even begin to fathom the idea of a bravery so strong and a dream so desired that we would sooner die a martyr in the name of change than live to see another day without it? We, as Americans, have accepted this invaluable gift from people we have not met, and people we cannot thank. We do not know all of their names, we do not know all of their stories, and yet every day they play a greater role in our lives than we could ever imagine.

How many of us can say that we are willing to die for a dream? Dreams are not guaranteed. Humans yearn for stability in life and nonetheless, here we stand, coming together as a community to offer our shared gratitude for the most ambitious of dreamers. Dreams are unpredictable, incalculable feats and ironically, it is to them we owe our security. There can be no change without the hope of a dream; there is no future without the ambitions of today, and there would be no today without the dreams of the very people whose lives have come to an end for the betterment of our own. It is beyond the bounds of possibility to characterize such selflessness, and seems just as impossible to determine a proper way to show our appreciation.

We muddle through our busy lives day after day, constantly taking for granted every aspect of our lives we do not realize we are so fortunate to have been granted by those celebrated on Memorial Day. Only in opening our eyes to see the love of family and friends along with the unending support of community by which we are surrounded, can we sincerely appreciate all that life has to offer. Even so, how could we ever manage to show proper thanks for the unmatched heroism of those who have fought so vehemently for the greater good of our nation? The answer lies in the future. The heroes of Memorial Day did not die to transform the past, but to anticipate and be a part of the creation of an exceptional tomorrow. We cannot leave such a promising dream untouched. It is our duty, in this land of opportunity, to work together tirelessly to carry on the legacy of those who have given all they could possibly give. They and their dreams will never be forgotten if we strive as a community to achieve the most valued foundations of our country which we cannot afford to lose: liberty, equality, and unity. We must never lose sight of these core values, for their neglect will undermine the struggles, sacrifices, and triumphs of the heroes celebrated today. Thus, therein lies the meaning of Memorial Day; it is to commemorate achievements of the past, it is to value the gift of the present, and it is to dream of reaching a brighter future.