The Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea allows one to fully comprehend the true meaning of Memorial Day. It reinforces the important lesson that the blessings of liberty come at a great cost.
On June 25, 1950, well-equipped, Soviet-backed forces from North Korea invaded the South. Consequently, led by the United States, the Western Allies responded to the North’s aggression. By the time the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953; some 40,000 U.S. Service Members had given their lives to defend and secure freedom on the Korean peninsula. Their ultimate sacrifices were not in vain!
Today, the Republic of Korea stands as a living testimony to the sacrifices made during the Korean War. Without the hardships endured by U.S. Service Members heroically executing their duties; South Korea would have been denied the opportunity to emerge as a free, independent, and self-determined nation.
Memorial Day is a time of – and for – solemnity to honor our fallen “Heroes.” Over the years, many of us have corrupted this day of reverence into an extended holiday weekend. We tend to take for granted the ultimate sacrifices that brave individuals have made to preserve the endearing and enduring freedoms and liberties that all of us enjoy.
On Memorial Day, we should remember the valuable lesson of the Korean War: Freedom is never free. We should take time to reflect on those brave individuals of the armed services who died so we can continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty, peace, and freedom.
John Di Genio, Cibolo