On this Memorial Day, Tropical Financial Credit Union remembers with gratitude those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. We honor the memory of those brave people who fought for the freedoms that we enjoy today.
Memorial Day was first observed in 1868 as Decoration Day to honor those who died the Civil War. Friends, relatives and others decorated their graves with flowers and flags. It became a federal holiday in 1938 and after World War II became better known by its current name. The scope also broadened to include all American soldiers who sacrificed their lives.
Just a few years ago, Michael Molinaro, county executive of Dutchess County, N.Y., asked an important question in a Memorial Day speech upon which we can all reflect: “What do we owe these brave few? How do we repay their eternal debt?”
He answered this way:
“We owe them this day of course, but we must honor them each and every day by using the gifts they have given us to create a better world, stronger nation, kinder community. We can exercise our freedoms with great care for one another and for the future of our children. We can responsibly take advantage of the many opportunities this land gives us. We can use our talents, the benefits of our fortune, and the love in our hearts to enrich the lives of those around us. We can, and must, as Americans have for over two centuries, aspire to be more, better, kinder tomorrow than we are today.”
Our credit union was founded the same year that Memorial Day became an official holiday. We exist to better the lives of our members. And we hold in high regard and memory those who have helped us in our mission of “co-creating an environment where everyone feels valued, safe, and included.”
Just two months before World War I began, President Woodrow Wilson delivered the Memorial Day address at Arlington National Cemetery. He said, in part:
“But there is this peculiar distinction belonging to the soldier, that he goes into an enterprise out of which he himself cannot get anything at all. He is giving everything that he hath, even his life, in order that others may live, not in order that he himself may obtain gain and prosperity…
“Therefore this peculiar thing comes about, that we can stand here and praise the memory of these soldiers in the interest of peace. They set us the example of self-sacrifice, which if followed in peace will make it unnecessary that men should follow war any more.”