This weekend has been billed as the “Unofficial Start to Summer.” It’s a weekend where we all get a paid holiday on Monday, hopefully, and people travel all over to visit friends and family. A cookout is required (if weather permits) and drinking is most certainly done. It’s a time for us all to get together with loved ones and celebrate another upcoming summer.
But there are many that will not be celebrating and it is truly their weekend.
Memorial Day was originally established as a day to remember those that had died in service to the United States. The day is meant to honor the men and women who have served in uniform for one of the armed services – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
That is who this weekend is truly about.
It is about remembering those that, whether draftee or volunteer, gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They went to foreign lands and encounter situations that no Hollywood movie can capture. They sometimes did amazingly courageous things to save their comrades. Maybe they did incredibly cowardly or stupid things.
Regardless, they died for us.
They died so that we can travel to spend this weekend with friends and family and have our bar-b-ques and beers. They spent time away from their families, foregoing cookouts and birthdays and holidays, to fight for a higher purpose.
Whether or not they agreed with why they were there.
Last week I wrote a post about a soldier that lost both of his legs to an IED. This man did not make the ultimate sacrifice, but he did sacrifice. Two weeks before this soldier was injured, another soldier lost both of his arms and legs to an IED.
Yes, we still have soldiers in harms way.
Yes, they are still sacrificing daily for this country and its interests.
Whether or not you agree with war, or with the current war, or with the United States’ policies and politics, these men and women in uniform, and all those that came before them, are the reason that you can say you disagree. They are the reason that we don’t speak another language, like German or Japanese. They are the reason that we killed Osama bin Laden, finally getting the mastermind behind the most horrible attack on this country since Pearl Harbor.
They are the reason that countries around the world do not try to take us over.
Our men and women in uniform are all amazing. I come to work every day and work with some of the most amazing soldiers that I have ever met. Every day I meet men and women returning home from Afghanistan and other theaters of operation after having served 400 days or more away from their families.
They do this voluntarily.
They weren’t asked to do it. They weren’t told they had to do it. They weren’t pressed into service.
The words “thank you” just don’t seem to be enough.
I grew up in the military. I served in the Air Force. I was married to military. Now, I work with the military.
The sacrifices that these people make daily, the choice that they have made to protect me and those that I love, humbles me.
I am so proud of our military. I mourn those that have died in service to this country, while at the same time giving them my eternal thanks.
I am proud to be a veteran.
I am proud to have served the military as an active duty member and as a spouse.
I am proud to serve the military today as a civilian worker.
I come to work knowing that, every day, I will meet some of the most amazing people to walk the face of the Earth.
This weekend, between the burgers and dogs and beer and laughs with your loved ones, take a moment to silently thank these warriors. Take a moment to thank their families that miss them daily, whether they are serving overseas or are buried here in the States.
Take a moment to remember those that never came home, dead or alive.
Take a moment to remember that we owe our continuing freedom to these men and women that voluntarily serve.
I know that I will. Will you join me?