Freedom Isn’t Free

Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor and remember those who put their lives on the line to protect and uphold our freedoms and liberties granted to us in the constitution. Even though this is an extremely important cause, not many people know when or how this day got started.

Toward the end of the Civil War in the early 1860s, people started decorating the graves of their family and friends who had died in battle. Many cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, originally called Declaration Day but In Waterloo, NY, in 1866, was deemed with this title when drugstore owner Henry Welles convinced the rest of the town to close all of the shops on May 5 to commemorate the soldiers from the Civil War laid at rest at the Waterloo Cemetery.

In 1882, Declaration Day was changed to Memorial Day and by the end of World War I the day memorialized those lost in line of military service. Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 which took effect in 1971, moving Memorial Day from May 30th to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day is an important day in American history, and it reminds us of the love and sacrifice for Freedom.

Here, at the University of North Georgia, the military college of Georgia, we have our own history of remembering those lost. UNG’s Dahlonega campus has a memorial wall that honors former students who were killed in the service of our country during time of war. Recently, the UNG community suffered a great loss of a young alum (Class of 2014), 1st LT Weston Lee (25), on Saturday, April 29, in Mosul, Iraq after sustaining injuries from an IED detonation. Weston’s name will be added to our memorial wall, but his name and sacrifice is engraved in the hearts and minds in the UNG community. Weston is the eighth UNG graduate lost since 9/11. Though we wished we had no need for such a wall, UNG sends our thanks and condolences out to the families who have had their son or daughter give the ultimate sacrifice. We hope that you take a moment to remember the fallen as we remember their sacrifice.

If you have further interest in memorializing Weston, Colin Marney and Nick Shaw, fraternity brothers of Weston’s, started a Go Fund Me account to solicit donations to establish a scholarship fund in Lee’s memory; additional proceeds will go to Lee’s family. UNG has also set up the 1LT Weston Lee Memorial Scholarship Fund donations page.

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