I have many heroes and men that I admire. The swaggering sailor in the middle is my favorite. He was also the epitome of how we should recognize Memorial Day.
I will be thinking about him a lot over the next two days as we visit the quiet and secluded graveyards along the Monongahela in the hills and valleys of Elizabeth Boro, Elizabeth Township, and Forward Township. We will be alone in most of those visits. But we are not doing it for the living. We fire our volleys for the ones who are at rest. Men who gave their all in the many ways through this countries history.
While you are at your soccer games or sleeping in on a day of rest, listen for the sounds of those rifles being fired. The three volleys comes from an old battlefield custom. The two warring sides would cease hostilities to clear their dead from the battlefield, and the firing of three volleys meant that the dead had been properly cared for and the side was ready to resume the battle. When we salute our fallen heroes, we once again resume our battle for freedom. We do it every day when we fight for the rights and promises of a free nation. We honor them by spiritually taking up the fight even as the sound of the last volley fades into the wooded hills and valleys they will never see again.
Listen for those sounds. Those are the sounds of freedom. If the day ever comes that they are silenced, it will mean the very freedom they represent.