Today is a day for most Americans to remember the fallen soldiers. Everywhere I have looked today, there have been memorials, messages, commercials, commentaries, even parades to remember those who have passed. Our Veterans and current military are praised for the job they have done and continue to do. They should be. They work hard. The military is not for the faint of heart. These are strong individuals who sacrifice everything to keep folks they don’t even know safe.
I’m sure just about every single one of you has family that served in some type of military. The stories are vast and wide. Their journeys may have ended abruptly, they may have lived long lives, and they may have been somewhere in between. The point is that they lived.
What kinds of sacrifices does it take to pursue the life of the service? It can mean long periods of not seeing your family, friends, colleagues, etc. It can mean going without the comforts that many of us are accustomed to. It can also mean learning new skills and being open to taking direction when many of us are unwilling to accept various types of change.
Like many of you I have family who has served and fallen in battle. I have loved ones who are currently serving or retired out of various branches of service. I know not to take any day for granted. When I see how our military is treated, regardless of the branch, it sickens me. So many of these men and women put their lives on the line every single day and there are many in society who call them derogatory names, ridicule them because they are not working a desk job, or not wealthy enough to be among the elite. Each and every service member has to deal with emotions that many of us will never be able to comprehend. Many civilians don’t have to face war environments. They don’t live in fear that an IUD will go off when they drive somewhere. Yet, our military personnel has to think about those kinds of things and even more.
I may not know about what the military goes through. I do know they are up and at it long before most of us even open our eyes. They go through routine drills that most of us wouldn’t begin to make it through because we haven’t conditioned ourselves like they have. They deserve respect. The men and women who fell in battle respected all of our freedoms enough to put their lives down.
They didn’t deserve the hotbed of political issues that plague our nation today. As a society, we’ve forgotten that the men and women who fought, fought for our rights to disagree, they would be livid over the defamation of property by those who get so easily offended. And they would not understand why as a nation, we can not seem to get beyond the political correctness and discuss issues that need serious discussion. When conversations stop taking place, all that happens is destruction. When that happens, all that’s left is rubble. No one is right or wrong at that point. Devastation and greed have rooted and it isn’t a pretty picture.
I hope this Memorial Day has given all of you a time to remember the fallen. Maybe through the past we can all rise up and be better people. We can learn how to get through hard topics if we are open to the discussion. Then and only then, will our forefathers truly have won the war. They fought to give us rights. We need to fight together as people to learn to coexist as communities and not enemies. Fighting for a cause doesn’t mean you have to be violent. It doesn’t mean to go deface someone’s property just because you don’t think it should be there. History doesn’t need to be re-written. Freedom doesn’t come cheap. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, dreams, and heart gave this country it’s backbone. Recognize the efforts of those who went before us. We don’t have to make the same mistakes. We can accept each other for who we are as opposed to trying to create a world that we think is right. Conversations are a must. We need to continue to challenge ourselves and ask what we want.
Use the time for reflection to regroup. When someone is being a jerk, be nice. When someone is pushing every button you have, change the direction of the conversation. Hold the door for someone. Let someone into traffic, or let them pull out of a parking space. Little gestures can go a long way into starting conversations. Above all, listen to each other. You might learn what others have to say.