As a recently separated service member that has finally returned home I have been flooded with thanks, praise and love on this often misunderstood holiday. Much of this recognition comes from my family, a family all too familiar with the struggles and heartbreak of a military life. I know I’m not the only one, many of you reading this may thank a vet or current service person today. Each and every person you congratulate, honor and praise will undoubtedly nod and with a somewhat embarrassed smile say, “Thank you” in return. You may wonder why, you may not even notice the uncomfortable pride and sadness they feel.
I’m writing to give you some insight into why. Memorial Day is not for those of us here and living, it’s not for current service members or veterans of any war. For many people Memorial Day is a day to party and enjoy the beginning of summer, it’s also a day to shop and receive amazing discounts. The Veterans and service members you thank and slap on the back on this sacred day see Memorial Day in a very different light. To us, today is a day to remember and to honor our brothers and sisters that gave the ultimate sacrifice so we can be here with our loved ones. Today is not about a war or politics, it’s not about race or religion, but instead a day to remember the over 1.2 million AMERICANS that have come from every walk of life, the rich and poor and the black, white and everything in between that have died serving their country in the last 200+ years.
You may not agree with what I’m writing and you may not agree with the cause these brave Americans died for, but save that distrust and disgrace for the politicians. No service member joins with the hope of going to war, instead we join to stand up for our country in a time of need and we volunteer with the hope that our children and yours will never be forced to fight again.
So please thank a vet or honor a service member, but on this Memorial Day and all to come instead of shaking my hand at the airport take a second to remember all those that have fallen and the families they have left behind. Veterans Day and Military Appreciation day are days for thanks, today is a day of memory, tears of joy and tears of sadness, but most of all REMEMBER.
Past, Present and Future Service Members