A Few Reflections & Questions on Memorial Day

May 29, 2023

It once was called Decoration Day.

A day marked by adorning the graves of those who died in the Civil War.

Congressman James Garfield, a Civil War general, gave the first speech at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. He stated in a language far from the casualness and abbreviations of our day:

I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here, beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept; plighted faith may be broken; and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue…

And here are children, little children, to whom the war left no father but the Father above. By the most sacred right, theirs is the chief place to-day. They come with garlands to crown their victor fathers. I will delay the coronation no longer.1

Freedom isn’t free is a cliche of a phrase, but it is nonetheless costly and true.

Take a moment today and pause from pondering your investment portfolio and incessant day-to-day updates about debt ceilings and financial concerns in the country.

Be silent for sec.

Express gratitude for the sacrifice of those who have gone before us.

Thank a veteran; not because you celebrate war, but because you treasure peace.

Our country was then and is now--flawed, yet I am grateful for it.

And ask yourself a few sobering questions on this day of remembrance: 

  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • What do you want your family and friends to say about you?
  • What would they say right now?

Financial planning and investment decisions are about more than buying and selling.

They are about relationships and legacy.

Have a great Memorial Day enjoying family and friends.

And for our readers and clients who are veterans and the spouses of veterans, please receive our firm’s heartfelt gratitude.



  1. https://www.nps.gov/articles/first-official-national-decoration-day.htm