"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.
They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices."
President Harry S. Truman
It's Memorial Day and trying to write this morning is a lot like a Sunday Morning Reflections post when I don't know what to write about. But, it's not so much that I don't know what to write about as much as I'm trying hard to come up with something different that I haven't written before. I want to express the respect I have for the members of our military, especially those who have given their lives for us.
The meaning of Memorial Day seems to get a little more lost each year under the banner of being the unofficial start of summer, so I've got to bring back the Wikipedia explanation for the day:
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.
But the holiday has grown to represent a time to also express our respect for our active members of the military today as well. Several times over the last few years, I've shared stories about projects Stacy Pearsall is working on, and today is the perfect time to remind you about her Veteran's Portrait Project. This year she's going to make it to ALL fifty states finally!
I first met Stacy in 2010 at the second Skip's Summer School in Las Vegas. As she took us through her story, there wasn't a dry eye in the room, but over the years, her story has become so much deeper than that first presentation.
She joined me and Chamira Young on a podcast last year, talking about photography, the Veterans Portrait Project, and shared a lot of great insight. Her project always deserves top billing, but she's also a accomplished artist, writer and educator as she discussed the role photography has played in her life; the importance of special projects, storytelling and the benefits of helping others.
And that brings me full circle, right back to the importance of Memorial Day...it's a time to make sure we never forget the sacrifices made by the men and women in our military, both in the past and into the future. It's a time to thank those who have served, are serving, and especially those who gave their lives to serve.
Wishing everyone a Memorial Day filled with peace that so many have given their lives for and deserve our respect and appreciation.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.