Here at Lucky Shot, we know that the freedom we continue to enjoy is a gift to us from all those who have bravely served this great nation. This Memorial Day, our hearts and prayers are with the families of the fallen. As millions of Americans welcome the beginning of summer with backyard cookouts at the end of May, we encourage all patriots to remember the one freedom that ensures all our freedoms – the Second Amendment, and how the protection of this right is a call to serve for so many.
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was first celebrated just after the end of the Civil War to remember and pay tribute to the lives lost from both the North and South. The first Decoration Day was celebrated on May 30, 1868 all across the country and at Arlington National Cemetery, where 5,000 people gathered. James A. Garfield, Union General and future United States President, spoke the following words:
“I am oppressed with a sense of impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here, besides 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 immoral their patriotism and their virtue.”
To us, this speech comprises some of the most sincere and impactful words ever written, and just as they held the deepest of significance that first Decoration Day, their meaning has carried forward to today, this Memorial Day, where they form the most heartfelt tribute to all Americans who have lost their lives in the line of duty. There is no greater sacrifice than the once freely made by our cherished defenders of freedom, and in remembering them we are humbled.
On the theme of defending freedom, did you know that the origin of the National Rifle Association is closely related to Memorial Day? The NRA was founded in 1871 when generals from the Union Army met to address an issue that the Civil War had brought to light. Soldiers in the Confederate Army were much better marksmen as they had largely grown up on farms learning how to hunt. In contrast, the Union Army soldiers were predominately from cities, and their firearms training was often nothing more than firing a single shot from a gun after enlisting. Since many of the troops from the South were already skilled at arms, this gave them the advantage of more quickly becoming skilled soldiers, and increased their chances of ultimately surviving. The NRA’s founding purpose was, “to educate the youth of the nation in marksmanship,” as well as “to encourage marksmanship throughout the United States, particularly among civilians, both as a sport and for the purpose of qualifying as finished marksmen those individuals who may be call upon to serve in the time of war.” The NRA’s original mission was dedicated to the safety of American soldiers, and because of this many more patriots have been able to return home alive.