Monday, May 31, 2010

All Give Some, Some Give All

Memorial day. A day we don't have to work. A day to bar-b-q, drink, splash in the pool. A day to hang out with family and friends. Memorial day is seen by most as the official kick off to Summer. The first big hurrah of the season. Sometimes there's even fireworks.

I wonder how many people actually stop to remember what this day is truly about. A day to remember. A day to celebrate the freedoms of being an American, brought to you by every soldier, airman, sailor and marine who has ever served our country.

They all sacrifice. They give up holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. They miss the births of their children, first steps, first words, first days of school. They give up the right to tuck in their children every night, to kiss their husbands and wives every morning, to bar-b-q, swim, and play. 

They give up many of the rights that they so willingly fight for the American person to have. They don't get to choose where they want to live. They don't get to choose to turn down a "transfer". They make a fraction of what a person would make in the civilian world doing their same jobs. If they want to go camping with their families on a long weekend and it happens to be more than a couple of hours away from their home, they have to ask permission to go. The freedoms of speech enjoyed by others can't be fully practiced by them, at risk of treason in some cases.

I believe I've best heard it stated like this: "The American soldier fights for the freedoms they don't have the liberty to enjoy."

And some, far too many, give everything they have. They will never again kiss their spouses, hold their children, smile and laugh with their families. They won't "Ooooh" and "Ahhhh" over fireworks. 

There will never be another holiday or birthday or vacation...because they have given their very lives in defense of our country and our freedoms. And far too many of them, after the first sad weeks, are forgotten by everyone except those who love them most.

I am certainly not saying don't bar-b-q. I'm not saying don't spend time with the people you love, and laugh, and splash, and drink. (Only if you are of age, of course.) Goodness knows that those same celebrations will be happening all over bases and posts everywhere across the world today. To say that people should sit in their homes in silent prayer and mourning today would be counterproductive to what the men and women in uniform are fighting for. Kick off your Summer with a bang! 

But take a moment to remember. Take a moment to give thanks. Take a moment to think on those men and woman, because who they are and what they do allow us to live our lives the way we do. Think on their families. The husbands, wives, children, parents, siblings...because they too serve. They might not pick up a gun or deploy to unknown lands, but they give to their country too...and some give all they have. 

Raise your glass! Make a toast, and enjoy your day! And maybe the next time you see a person who serves, take a moment to thank them. A moment of your day could mean a world to them.

Happy Memorial Day!


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