Memorial Day 2021

“Some gave all.” Three powerful words that many of us have difficulty conceptualizing. Depending on the type of person you may be, those we lost in the military may not make a difference to you, but they should. Their loss of life is pivotal to each of us living our lives with freedom. They sacrificed the ultimate gift so that generations could live their lives free from terror. That doesn’t mean that we don’t live with terror every day, but the men and women who perished wanted to protect those they loved and even those they didn’t know. Their selfless sacrifice provides each of us the freedom to believe what we want, experience different avenues in our lives, and not experience bombs going off all the time. Their sacrifice paved the way for a better future.

Many family members have served in the military, and to my knowledge, none of them perished in wars. Now, that doesn’t include WWI nor the Civil War. But I have friends who lost many family members in Vietnam and Desert Storm, and I have classmates who attended East Carolina who were killed in action when Desert Storm first entered the picture. They were young men who had no fear when talking about their deployment. I can’t imagine what they saw before they died, but I recall several times in class before their deployment how they were carefree and full of life.

Today is a day of reflection. While most of us weren’t with the men and women who perished, we can all thank them by giving each other peace. This Memorial Day is about the fallen and honoring the sacrifice they made. It shouldn’t be about fighting with your enemies. We do enough of that the rest of the year. If you don’t care about the military and think that they aren’t worth the effort, then you should put yourself in their shoes. I can guarantee you that you’d have difficulty getting through basic training and that the mental training these men and women endure is extreme. The military is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a place where those who don’t appreciate the sacrifices the men and women make should venture. It’s a privilege to serve, and the ones who do get through basic training should be respected and revered. That is only the start of their military journey, and the ones who have fallen should never become forgotten.

So to the men and women still serving, thank you. We know today is about honoring the ones who have perished while active, but let us never forget those who didn’t make their sacrifices lightly. Thank those who have served for their service because they are still here. I can pretty much guarantee you they have many friends who they considered family that didn’t make it with them. Appreciate the day for what it means and recharge yourselves for the upcoming week. Have a great day, everyone.

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