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Value of a Life

Today is Memorial Day weekend. For some, it has little meaning other than a day off and the running of the Indianapolis 500. Yet, the origin of the day began with remembering the dead in the War of Northern Aggression-—the women of Pennsylvania who decorated Union graves in August of 1864, the women of Virginia who decorated Confederate graves in April of 1865, and the women of Columbus, MS who decorated the graves of both Union and Confederate dead-—prompting Horace Greeley’s editorial and the subsequent events which called for national observance of such memorials. This day reminds us of all our war dead, hence that freedom has a cost. (Copied).

Value is not always measured in economic costs.  How much is a single life worth in one’s contributions to family, church, community, and nation?  How much is it worth to have a friend with whom you can converse when you are troubled and celebrate with when you are rejoicing?  What is the value of a good set of eyes that capture the painted colors of a sunset in Oklahoma?  Just how much would be the value of a hug from your child or grandchild?  Those are priceless.

Each of those things enjoyed in America along with a myriad number of other blessings are ours to enjoy because of our nation’s freedom.  “Freedom is not free.”  It is very costly to gain and requires constant vigilance and valor to maintain.  Sometimes, one can live in a land that is free and still be prisoners themselves.  Their choices or life’s events can put them in bondage that is cruel, constant, and crushing.  Many are those that are in addictions, deep debt, abusive homes, constant pain due to an illness or accident, or literal imprisonment for crimes committed.

Some are prisoners because of their own minds….prisoners to hate, bitterness, inability to overcome something that happened in years past, or deep seated resentment from the injuries inflicted by another party.  That was the case following one of the earliest celebrations of Memorial Day.  The day was set in place for women to decorate the graves of the fallen Union soldiers that perished in the Civil War.  The order was given that no confederate graves were to be decorated in the section that was dedicated to the burial of the Confederate dead.  Here is the rest of the story……

When the first Memorial Day was celebrated, a group of women from Washington D.C. asked the War Department for permission to put flowers on the soldiers graves at Arlington Cemetery. After a lot of haggling, permission was finally granted to do so. But a stern order was attached to the permission. No flowers were to be placed on the graves of the Confederate soldiers who were buried in a segregated section of the cemetery. The ladies carried out their task, careful to follow these instructions. Then General James Garfield made a speech. When the crowds left, a strong wind arose. The wind blew almost all the flowers into the Confederate section. After that the separation was never repeated. Many believed that all this was due to divine intervention. (Copied).