Essay: What Memorial Day means to me

Editor’s note: The following essay by Miles Glidden was chosen as the best Memorial Day essay byhis peers from among all the Memorial Day essays that his class wrote. In non-Covid times, he would have read the essay during Memorial Day ceremonies held by the Chester American Legion on the Green in Chester.

By Miles W. Glidden

When most people think of Memorial Day, they think of a three-day weekend or a day to have a barbeque, and not about the courageous and valiant men and women who put themselves into the living hell that is war in order to preserve our way of life and to insure that future generations prosper. In the darkest times of our history, these men and women stepped forward to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of the people currently living in the mighty United States of America.

Many of my family members have been in the military, my great uncle in Vietnam, another uncle who was in the guards in the late 70s, as well as others. I remember hearing my great uncle talk about some of the things he did while in the military and some of the hardships that he faced in day-to-day life on base or in the field. He spoke of the great friendships that he made and how war is a barbaric thing that should not have to be done, but it is essential to make sure peace is a possibility. The things that I have heard have made me question multiple times the meaning of war and why we do it, but what is certain to me is that while all of the people in the military are completely different, they all have one thing in common: the willingness to fight for their country no matter the risks and the sacrifices that they will have to make and are willing to make.

If you think about it, the first breath you took was only possible because thousands and thousands of courageous men and women died for you. They died to keep our way of life preserved, they died so that the next generations could have a better life than they did, they died for you and your mother, father, and siblings, they died for all of the people in your family
and country. They fought for all of us living today and some of them are still fighting at this very moment. No matter if you chose to think about it or not, at least one person died so that you could live your life the way you want to.

When I walk in the Memorial Day parade, I walk with my head high and show as much respect as possible for the fallen men and women who died in the line of duty, for the soldiers who never got to see their family again, for the bravest and most courageous men and women to ever step foot in this fair country of the United States of America. The land of the free. The land that broke away from the British, survived the Civil War, came to the rescue of Western Europe twice.

The land that in almost every conflict that it faced has emerged battered and bloody but victorious because of the men and women who gave their country their all and their lives for the greater good. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during World War II, said that “Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” All of the men and women who have fought and are fighting have or have had that courage to continue to fight for their country and for all of the people that they know and love.

The next time it is Memorial Day, please think about the men and women who risked it all for you and for everyone you know and love. I’ll leave off with a verse from a song by Toby Keith titled “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.”

My dad served in the army
Where he lost his right eye, but he flew a flag out in our yard

Until the day that he died
He wanted my mother, my brother, my sister and me
To grow up and live happy
In the land of the free

Miles Glidden is a 7th grader at Green Mountain Middle/High School. He lives in Proctorsville.

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  1. Dale Williamson says:

    Well done, Miles! You mother, father and grandmother (all part of our NewsBank family) should be very proud!

  2. Kathy Goodell says:

    Congratulations Miles. Your essay is a reminder to all of us on what Memorial Day stands for. Thank you for thoughtful words.

  3. Janet C. Goodwin says:

    I loved your essay, Miles. It was well thought out, and is a reminder for all of us of the true meaning of why we celebrate Memorial Day. We live every day in the land of the free, because of brave. Lets not ever forget…Thank you!

  4. Jennifer Grycel says:

    Thank you Miles. As I am the proud mother of a US Marine, Kole Blanchard. He grew up in Chester across from the Bremers and the Funeral home through 5th grade then Londonderry graduating from Burr and Burton in 2019 leaving for boot camp at 17 a week after graduation… I thank you for such a moving essay! Kole is currently on deployment! Please wear red on Fridays for all those deployed! A wonderful essay that people should really think about the freedoms they have because of all who serve or served and gave the ultimate sacrifice! ❤️

  5. George Bellin says:

    Miles, thank you very much for this excellent essay.You are a sure winner! Everyone that receives the Chester Telegraph should read your essay and be very proud of your patriotism. A job well done.
    Thank you again🇺🇸

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