Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

I am taking pause to remind myself of what this day represents. 

It is a bittersweet day. The sweetness is for celebrating the fact that we can live our lives in freedom. We can have our barbecues and pool parties and shopping sprees in peace and live our every day according to the way we want to. The bitterness is the reason we are able to do these things. It's because of someone else's sacrifices. We silently honor and respect those individuals every day, but today we actively bring attention to them. They give their lives to us every day. These people deserve our respect, honor, appreciation, and gratitude.
 Memorial Day is a day to remember. It's right there in the name. What exactly are we remembering? The men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, both in their life and from their life. The people whose lives were taken, we think of them. But it doesn't end at the end of their lives. Let's not forget the people they leave behind who are left with grief and losing someone they love so we can live in peace. All those people are someone's sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers.
 Let's remember that the men and women who lost their lives protecting what freedom stands for, lost a future with their loved ones. They knew they were fighting for something more. Something that they were willing to let their life be represented by. That sacrifice meant leaving behind a parent outliving their child. A child growing up without their parent. Those loved ones left behind for a greater cause, doesn't make the hurt go away. And let's not forget that sacrifice doesn't just mean loss of physical life. Let's not overlook the veterans who've served and survived. What about those brave service members who have become disabled? Loss of limbs and body parts, whose lives will never be the same and will have a physical limitation reminding them of their bravery. What about mental, emotional sacrifices? The horror they've seen and experienced, possibly fellow soldiers falling to their death before their eyes. The trauma, the nightmares, the difficulty of experiencing normal life after living the extremely abnormal. It takes a determination, strength, and power we do not know. To brainwash your mind into being okay with killing and fighting back at those trying to take our lives by taking their lives in return. Yet they volunteer to live this life. Unforced. To make their lives a sacrifice. Their bodies, their time away from loved ones, missing out on opportunities and memories, all so we can be free to live our lives as we choose. Not having to fight, because they do it for us. They take that on.

Men and women who are serving and have served your time: Thank you so much for your dedication. Thank you seems not enough. Two tiny words. I appreciate you and honor your service to our country. The sacrifice you make every day to wake up and do your job. It's not just a job. You are heroes. Thank you for making that choice, knowing that it could mean ending your life for the freedom of others. Even those who you don't know. I admire and respect you all. Grateful that I have my life that you work every day to protect. Thank you so very much. I'm so proud to be an American and to live in this country. It is flawed but our lives are our own. We have much more than others do. Thank you for protecting it.