Memorial Day Message 2017

The World War II memorial in Washington, DC, includes recognition of the CBI theatre.

Memorial Day – May 29th, 2017

Many of us have time off today to spend time with family and friends. Memorial Day is much more than a holiday marking the beginning of summer, though. Originally called Decoration Day, the holiday arose after the Civil War as a day to visit the graves of soldiers and to mark them with flowers and other signs of remembrance. Originally celebrated on May 30th, in 1968 the US Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May.

The ABA has a unique mission among US martial arts organization in honoring America’s veterans of the Burma Campaign in the China- Burma-India (CBI) Theater of WWII. Many of these veterans have passed away, and it’s estimated that only 3% of the original 16 million members of the US armed forces during WWII are still alive. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that nearly 400 WWII veterans die with each passing day. In more recent conflicts, there have been over 50,000 military deaths associated with conflicts in this century.

It’s a sacred act to remember those who have passed away. With this holiday, I hope you will join me in setting aside time to honor those who have served and who are no longer with us. Perhaps it might be through recalling the service of a family member or by visiting a memorial site. Make a donation to a veterans organization or thank a veteran you meet today, knowing that each person who serves in the armed forces may face perilous risks that we can enjoy so many freedoms. Many of our ABA members have served in the military, and perhaps you can reach out to a fellow member in friendship and gratitude.

On behalf of ABA, thank you to all of our veterans for your work to serve our country and to preserve the freedom and values of our United States that we so treasure.

Deborah Kirkman
President, American Bando Association