[May 31, 2021] Memorial Day is not about honoring our living Veterans; it is honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans like me had the good fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder that we still have a responsibility to serve when we come home. It’s this continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending her.
Every year, I write a short article about Memorial Day. Typically, it is published only locally, per my wishes. This year, I am again posting it on my leadership blog.
Memorial Day, 31 MAY 2021:
The greatest things are the hardest things. Originally known as Decoration Day, today’s Memorial Day originated shortly after the U.S. Civil War; a war that took the lives of more Americans than nearly all our wars combined. Memorial Day is about remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the ideal of freedom.
Members of our military have traveled, lived, and fought around the world and, in doing so, have been witness to malevolent leaders who conquered and destroyed nations while extinguishing freedoms. Graves of our brothers and sisters are scattered across this Earth where they fell in an effort to defend freedom and bring peace for others. We remember them and will never forget them.
Two hundred years ago, a wise man named Goethe said, “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.” It is our military that specializes in danger. They run to danger! They ride to the sound of the guns. They go where no one would humanly want to go. Yet, they do so.
Why is it that so many of our military brethren, which we see as we travel across the United States, are willing to put themselves in danger? Indeed, it is not from a sense of glory or desire for a ribbon on their uniform but from an honest desire to do what is right for our America. We know this because we can see their graves. And we know this from speaking to their brothers and sisters with whom they served.
The greatest things, like freedom, are always the hardest things. Freedom is the oxygen of the soul. We yearn for it more than for anything else. Memorial Day is that single day to remember that many of our warriors stood at the “tip of the spear” and died doing so. We celebrate their sacrifice, their honor, their courage, and their commitment. Yet, there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death before freedom is achieved.
For those who fell in service to our country, we set aside only one day. On this Memorial Day, we must not forget their sacrifice – not today, not ever. We must remember!