While Instagram might not be the first thing you think of when you think of Memorial Day, the social media platform is increasingly becoming the place to share tributes and holiday wishes throughout the year. While there's a lot I don't love about Instagram, I actually really enjoy that it allows users to spread more love overall. In the case of this holiday, you might find yourself reaching for one of these Memorial Day 2018 Instagram caption ideas to pay respect to those who served, because they deserve to be acknowledged and respected.
In the current political and cultural climate, Memorial Day can take on a slightly politicized air. But on Memorial Day, we're supposed to be remembering and celebrating the people who died in active military service. And whatever you believe about war or government or politics, we can all come together and honor people who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for their country. I don't personally have any relatives who have died in active duty, but I always think about both my grandfathers and my grandmother, who all served in World War II and almost never mentioned their experience. They were humble and honorable and stoic, and that's something that deserves our respect, too — so keep all soldiers who have served in their lifetime in mind (not just those we have lost) as you craft a Memorial Day post for Instagram.
Here are a few meaningful captions you might consider using this weekend, that really celebrate those who have served.
1. "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." — John F. Kennedy
The men and women who have died serving our country asked that question and made the ultimate sacrifice while trying to fulfill it.
2. “Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history.” — Mary Roach
I always think about Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, when I think of the utterly normal and yet completely heroic young men who died serving in Vietnam. Many of them didn't want to be there, but their small triumphs likely changed the lives of those around them.
3. "We memorialize our first patriots -- blacksmiths and farmers, slaves and freedmen -- who never knew the independence they won with their lives." — Barack Obama
In 2011, President Obama encouraged us to also memorialize those who fought and died for freedom in other ways than on a military battlefield, and these words still ring true today.
4. “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Some people have taken on much greater responsibility to protect our freedoms than most of us ever will.
5. "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." — Joseph Campbell
There are so many heroes who give themselves to causes bigger than themselves, and today ought to be a day to remember and honor all of those who do.
6. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them." — John F. Kennedy
The irony of the words we're all uttering on Instagram for Memorial Day isn't lost on me, but hopefully we might be able to show how we can live our lives with a little more action and advocacy this holiday.
7. "There is nothing nobler than risking your life for your country." — Nick Lampson
There are, of course, many very noble things you can do, but putting your own life on the line is one of the most ultimate sacrifices. I always think about my grandparents who did a very noble thing, indeed.
8. "That’s what we memorialize today. That spirit that says, send me, no matter the mission. Send me, no matter the risk. Send me, no matter how great the sacrifice I am called to make. The patriots we memorialize today sacrificed not only all they had but all they would ever know. They gave of themselves until they had nothing more to give." — Barack Obama
This is a longer quote, perhaps for the wordy Instagram users among us, but it embodies the true spirit of unpoliticized patriotism: the willingness to serve no matter what the sacrifice might entail, knowing full well that they may not be around to see the result of their sacrifice.
9. "Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Memorial Day is as good a day as any to remember and acknowledge that the freedoms we get to enjoy as people of this nation are available to us because of what others have sacrificed. Basically, don't take your freedom for granted.
10. "I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism." — Bob Riley
While we might not all be heading out onto the battlefield, we should all be thinking about ways we might sacrifice our normal and privileged lives in order to do more for the greater good.
11. "What I can do for my country, I am willing to do." — Christopher Gadsden
Christopher Gadsden's words are a reminder that we should probably all be thinking less about complaining about the state of the country and instead working harder every day to make it better.
12. "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." — Adlai Stevenson II
In our day and age, tranquil and steady don't exactly seem to be the most common traits, but they are enviable and a reminder that slow and steady wins the race.
13. “No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.” — General Douglas MacArthur
Thank you, General, for the reminder that we all need to be working toward preserving the freedoms our ancestors and our military have fought for for generations and hundreds of years.