How do I begin this? I ponder that question as I sit here, sipping coffee and watching a not so stray cat watch me. I sit here, one dog by my side, the other outside grumbling because I won’t let her bark at the neighbor’s kids. I sit here, in my home surrounded by beautifully private woods. Along the edges of my yard, and interspersed around are flowers growing. This a gift. Oh I paid the money for it, but a much higher price has been paid.
Memorial Day is not simply a long weekend to enjoy those backyard cookouts, games and friends. Memorial Day, is to remind us of those who paid the ultimate price for freedoms enjoyed.
I will not go into and I hope no one else will either, the political rants of and about war. I know them, I’ve heard them as much as anyone else. Truth, in half or whole, it isn’t the point here. Here is about something totally different. Sacrifice. It takes a special kind of person to go voluntarily into service. It takes a different type individual to go into service and not seek ways to avoid when called. Though for now, service in the states is voluntary.
Consider it though, a young adult, walking into the recruiter’s office and signing the documents. They have in that moment, committed their life to the service of their country. A country and people they love and have the desire to protect.
They leave home, family and friends to travel to a new home. A place where life becomes very different. Regimented and filled with a totally different aspect of looking at things. Time and mindset change from what was a simple, innocent, uncomplicated way of living to a life where they train hard and long in preparations for what may and often, does come. Once this stage of training is complete, the next experience begins. They pack duffel bags and board planes, ships, submarines that will take them to their destination. Going about assigned duties along the way. Their journey taking them to places they would not have seen otherwise. Across the world to where battles rage and threats live and thrive. Threats that seek to destroy and conquer. Threats that if ignored, only gain in power. They go, to prevent that spread to a land and people they love.
Many are young. Many still in ways so innocent and filled with big hopes, dreams, ideals, and grand purpose. Yet, with a determination to do what they believe right and necessary. They go, knowing the possible price they may pay.
Memorial Day, is for those who paid that ultimate price. The ones who left alive, well, strong and filled with those big ideals. The ones who came home in a box draped with a flag. The ones who are buried in foreign soil. The ones who are buried at sea. It is for them, we remember. It is for them, we have this day.
Families of those who paid that price, will hold a photo, will sit before a head stone, will gaze at the flag hanging proudly in their yard and remember. Mother’s will remember their child. Brothers and sisters their sibling. Wives and husbands their spouse. The missing parent to their children. Tears of missing them, will fall. Tears of respect for them, will fall. As they remember. It is important that we remember as well. It is essential, we remember them and the price they paid. It is partially because of them, that we have what we do. That we are able to live as we do and enjoy each day. They paid a very high price, the ultimate price for freedom. They believed in their purpose and mission. Some, not only lost their life in battle, some sacrificed willingly to save those with whom they served. How big their, heart and bravery for that selfless, final act.
I have family members and friends who served. My late husband’s dad, served. Most came home. Memorial Day, is for those who did not. In the pride and respect, in the laughter, there should also be time of somber remembrance and respect.
Have your backyard party. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Fly your flag. Take the time though, to remember, and pay homage, to those who paid the price so that you can do those things. Set aside political, conspiratorial, and what ever other negative beliefs on war for this day, and respect the selfless acts of bravery and sacrifice that was given. May their memories live ever on.