It’s Memorial Day weekend, what are you doing?
Is the most difficult part of your plans this weekend choosing which of the variety of homemade salads to choose from at the family cookout?
Hey, I get it, it’s a tough choice between Aunt Ida’s potato salad, Mom’s macaroni salad, and Uncle Joe’s taco salad.
It’s also a fortunate choice to have because if it weren’t for our military heroes you might not have that choice, in fact you might not have a cookout at all.
This Memorial Day in between stuffing you face with a little smattering of everyone’s homemade salad variety (because let’s face it, you just couldn’t choose) and kicking back on the beach, take a minute to remember why we as Americans have these freedoms.
It’s because the few who raised their right hands and took a vow to defend our nation and its freedoms at all costs, including their own life and there are many who paid that price.
For some Memorial Day is not just one day, it’s every day. It’s everyday a parent wakes up remembering their son or daughter who was killed by an IED or Suicide bomber, when they look at their child’s empty bedroom or replay the sound of their sweet childhood laugh in their head. It’s every time a wife rolls over in bed to find herself alone without the comfort of her husband and it’s the sad dreams that follow of a life that will never be. It’s when everyone at school is celebrating father’s day but one, her dad is not there nor will he ever be because he paid the ultimate cost for freedom. It’s when a platoon returns from a mission with the bodies of their friends, their brothers and sisters, who were lost. It’s when a soldier wakes up in a cold sweat after reliving the day his best friend was killed by enemy fire. It’s that feeling of regret, and anger, and sorrow that follows. The question that haunts him, “Could I have saved him?” even though there was nothing more he could have done.
Some of us honor our fallen by putting flags on their graves or holding a local memorial service but amidst the hubbub of barbeques and pool parties too many of us forget to remember why we have this day. It’s more than a family party, a day off from work or the beginning of the summer, it’s a solemn day to show honor and respect to all those who have served, from the times of the American Revolution to the current conflicts in the Middle East. It’s a time to honor our country and those who died for it. To look at the real value of freedom and take a moment to appreciate all that we have and how much it cost.
Memorial Day is a day of pride, of honor, and of sorrow. Pride for what our loved ones accomplished, honor for our fallen heroes and for our country, and sorrow for what we have lost.
It’s a day to remember and swear to never forget that the price of freedom is never free.
So this Memorial Day, be happy to be able to share a burger and a beer with your loved ones, your brother, your sister, your parents, your son or your daughter because not everyone has that luxury and be thankful for the freedoms you enjoy. Thank a veteran, thank the gold star family that pays the price of freedom everyday, and most of all remember what it costs to be free.
Don’t forget that Memorial Day is more than an excuse for a good party but a chance to honor those who have honored us by giving us freedom.