On Memorial Day, remember the courage that keeps core values strong

John Hairston, May 28, 2018
Our core values define us and give us direction. These five founding principles make up the right-thing-to-do mindset we share with the people and places we serve. Since the 1800s, these timeless ideals have been our moral compass and the cornerstone of our company. Now, they’re at the center of our new brand.
 
Each Memorial Day, we pay homage to the men and women who valiantly fought and died to defend America’s core values—the moral compass, cornerstone, and center of our country—so that we can think, live, and do business freely. Because of the supreme sacrifices that uphold our inalienable rights, we believe we all have an obligation to act with integrity, respect, and understanding—to do the right thing.
 
Stories vary on how, when, and where Memorial Day began. One tale set in the resilient region where we have strong roots illustrates how commitment to core values among everyday people brought about this special day of remembrance.
 
During the Civil War, some 2,500 Confederate and 32 Union casualties from nearby battles were buried at Friendship Cemetery in the small northeast Mississippi town of Columbus. After the war, on April 25, 1866, the ladies of Columbus, moved by the grief of Southern and Northern families, sought to honor lost soldiers on both sides.
 
Putting aside past differences, they decorated all the soldiers’ graves with beautiful handmade bouquets from their own gardens. News of their small but extraordinary gesture of compassion and reconciliation—of doing the right thing—spread quickly. Over the next century, that first “Decoration Day” eventually became what we know now as Memorial Day, the last Monday in May when we remember all who have lost their lives in active military service.
 
Memorial Day 2018
 
This Memorial Day, we salute those who gave all to keep us free. Their courage to the end and the heartache their families have endured have safeguarded our Nation and its core values. Because of their consummate bravery, our country’s commerce carries on; and we can continue the privilege of serving people and communities according to our core values.
 
Memorial Day means summer is here. Amid our celebrations, let’s not forget to do the right thing:  to pay tribute to the ones who gave their lives for the ideals that keep our country and our company strong. We owe them an immeasurable debt for the ultimate price they paid.
 
We also salute and thank the individuals who continue to safeguard us here and abroad and the families who support them from home and afar. We ask God’s blessing on those who serve and those who await their safe return. 
 
Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.