So what is Memorial Day all about? Why do we gather with friends and family to enjoy fresh air, family picnics, scrumptious cookouts, and fun in the sun on Memorial Weekend? Memorial Day is certainly about celebrating our love of place, of family and of country. But it is about much more than just ourselves and our story.
This year, don’t confine your Memorial Day memories to hotdogs and hamburgers. Go deeper. Let your celebration reflect the rich blessing of the freedom that we enjoy in this great nation, a blessing that we enjoy because of the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending America. Freedom isn’t free. Memorial Day is a day to remember the courage of our fallen heroes and to let their life and legacy inspire us.
May we never forget.
On Memorial Day, please take time to honor the hundreds of thousands of fallen American heroes that make it possible for us to enjoy the civil and religious freedoms that we have today in America. That is an enormous number, and very difficult to wrap your head around, so that’s why it’s important to honor specific heroes, to read and share the stories of valor that defy all the odds. By reading one story of a fallen hero you allow their legacy of service before self and courage to go on. You perpetuate the essence of of the land of the free and the home of the brave. You practice humility and leadership in this simple act of public remembrance.
Windrose would like to share the story of one American hero to get you started on your journey to honor Memorial Day. Air Force Captain Lance P Sijan was a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient due to his exemplary courage above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War. After his plane was shot down in enemy territory, he evaded capture by crawling on his elbows in the jungle for more than 40 days! Later following his capture, he overpowered his guards despite his severely weakened condition to escape back into the jungle, before being recaptured. He later resisted extreme torture during interrogation and never revealed information. His fellow POW’s reported that he never complained, and instead remained hopeful as he laid more plans to escape. Captain Sijan was just 25 years old when he died a prisoner of war in 1968.
Here is Capt. Sijan’s full tribute from the Medal of Honor Society:
“While on a flight over North Vietnam, Capt. Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft and successfully evaded capture for more than 6 weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Capt. Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner of war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition, he overpowered 1 of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. Capt. Sijan lapsed into delirium and was placed in the care of another prisoner. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts. Capt. Sijan’s extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.”
You can find the full profile of Captain Sijan here, on the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Official Website. You can read more about his life and service here.
Remember this is the home of the free, because of the brave. This weekend, take time with your family and friends to read more stories of American heroes who demonstrated exemplary courage and service! Don’t just do your remembering privately! This should be a national celebration of our heroes. At your family picnic, why not pray for the families who have lost loved ones this year in the line of duty? Why not recount the stories of American military heroes? Why not watch a movie like Unbroken, Saving Private Ryan, Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor or one of the many other films that honor America’s rich history of ordinary Americans doing the extraordinary in defense of our freedom? As they say, all gave some and some gave all.
We pray you and your family have a blessed Memorial Weekend!