Today is Memorial Day. For most North Americans, it is an opportunity to get off of work, fire up the grill, enjoy a long weekend, and… oh yeah… thank those that have served in the Armed Forces and remember those that gave their life for our freedoms. I have always been appreciative of those that served, probably because I was always proud of my dad in his Air Force service (well, I have to admit, I don’t remember much about his service, except that he did work on the SR-71… I LOVE that plane).
There were a couple times when I came close to enlisting, but for me it was not to be. That’s ok, it’s not for everyone. My son is making a run at it, though, and I couldn’t be more proud. Today it is fitting that I wear my “Army Dad” shirt, and I do so every opportunity I get.
But this post isn’t about me. It’s about heroes. The ones we hear about on days like today, or on the 10 o’clock news, rightly so reporting on the passing of a soldier, a life cut way too short so the rest of us can enjoy the pursuit of a long life. Not only those heroes though. It’s about the heroes who serve faithfully every day. Separated from family and friends. Training for dangerous engagements, being deployed into hostile territories, facing what only those who have served can identify with. Unsung heroes who may never get a heroes’ welcome, a congressional medal of honor, a parade just for them. They are the ones I passed in the airport as I rushed to my plane, too busy to take a moment to stop and say “thank you”. The ones who stopped by the coffee shop, letting me know that they are not just military machines, but men and women, with feelings like me, yet made the choice to put many of their feelings aside, so I can have my grande vanilla rooibos in peace. They are the sons and daughters that come back from maneuvers, picking up where they left off, being good sons and daughters, knowing at any moment they can be called up to make the ultimate sacrifice…
They are all heroes. They are all to be commended, thanked and honored whenever they are seen.
When my son came back from basic, there were a couple men that went out of their way to not only thank him, but to pull his bags from the turnstyle. These men were also heroes, having served many years ago. It showed me that they truly understood the sacrifice, and I had so much to learn.
My hope is that Memorial Day is not just a day, but more of a state of mind. That we keep in mind those that have served, and continue to serve, protecting our freedoms. That we honor and thank those that are faithfully serving, realizing that their service is not easy. Regardless of whether we agree with the administration, we have people we know, and those we don’t who are doing everything they can to keep us free. If that’s not heroic, then I don’t know what is.
Rather than send you to a link, I invite you to find someone who has served, or is serving, and thank them for their service. You will not know how special it is for them to see that there are those that support them.