It is Memorial Day weekend and a time that many families spend together with the extended holiday weekend. Many will stay at home and many will travel, but regardless of how you celebrate, this is a time for reflection. My father was a POW in the Korean War and survived. Many others did not. And this is the case with all of America’s wars and conflicts. Many survive untouched, others survive only to face obstacles that they never thought they would and then there are those that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
It is Memorial Day weekend and a time that many families spend together with the extended holiday weekend. Many will stay at home and many will travel, but regardless of how you celebrate, this is a time for reflection. My father was a POW in the Korean War and survived. Many others did not. And this is the case with all of America’s wars and conflicts. Many survive untouched, others survive only to face obstacles that they never thought they would and then there are those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. This is the reason that we have the freedom to do all of the family and fun things that has become part of our Memorial Day traditions and this is something that we should never forget or take for granted.
It really does not matter whether or not you personally supported or not supported a war or conflict when it comes to respecting our men and women in uniform both present and past. This holiday is so much more than those that paid for our freedom with their lives as it reaches out to those that our currently protecting our freedom by choice. That is something for us all to ponder as we celebrate our freedom this weekend. There is no draft so all of our service members from all branches of our military choose to put their lives on the line because they believe our freedom is more important than themselves. They fight, whether in actual combat or support for a greater cause. And many of them through our history have died in protecting their families, their neighbors, their friends, and for countless people that they never get to know.
Like many other things in life, I believe that military service is a calling. It is not a life for everyone, but I am thankful that there are many out there that answer this calling with diligence, courage and intent. In death and in life they deserve the support and respect of all of the American people for without them there is not telling where we would be now as a nation, a people, a city, town or neighborhood. Even those that protest wars and conflicts could not do so without our military consistently defending our freedom of speech.
We are in a new age of war across the world. It is no longer only a battle on a hill or a landing on a beach. War has come to the backyard of nearly every free country in the world and our fight is protecting those within our own borders. We face so much now that is unknown, undetectable and in many cases more elusive than any other time in history. We have never depended on our active duty military and those that support the same cause in defending our freedom right here on our own soil. These are the men and women that we celebrate on this holiday as we remember those who came before them and passed on the torch to the next generation of those who serve.
As we remember those that we have lost and there are many people in our own communities that have a family member or friend that they will mourn for this holiday. Remember them. There are troops around the world that cannot be with their families during our time of celebration. Remember them. There are countless numbers of people that have served that are facing demons every day, yet still manage to make it through one day at a time. Remember them. There are too many that cannot live with the horrors that they have witnessed in war and decide that living is no longer an option. Remember them all with honor.
As we spend our time this weekend celebrating our freedom reach out to our military forces, veterans and the many that serve our country within our borders in making our neighborhoods a safer place to be. It is just as important to honor our living, as it is to honor our dead. And all it takes is a thank you, or recognition of their service to our country and our communities. Unless you have been there, you will never understand what a simple “thank you for serving our country” can mean to the person that receives that recognition.
Have a safe and free Memorial Day weekend and thank you to those present and past that make this weekend of celebration and remembrance possible.