Monday, May 28, 2018

Remembering on Memorial Day

These photo say it all. Memorial Day is a U.S. national holiday when we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. If you have lost a loved one, please know that millions are pausing today to reflect on your sacrifices. We care. Thank you for giving up the most precious thing you could give - your children, fathers and mothers, grandparents, brothers and sisters, cousins, and friends. I hope you can let the American people embrace you today in a gigantic collective hug of love and appreciation.

While today isn't really about the living, it's a great opportunity to thank veterans and the men and women who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. At any time, those at war could join the fallen at our national memorials at Arlington Cemetery and across the country. I should go there today. My parents are both there, but my parking pass was destroyed in the fire.

Today, some who were injured while serving are healing at hospitals around the world. Their stories - grit, determination, and bravery - are inspirational. Others who have returned from war aren't receiving the care (or the jobs) we owe them. That saddens me, especially when they are put on endless waiting lists for care, a debacle our government can't seem to rectify.

There was a beautiful, moving tribute, originally published in the Washington Post, A Song of Gratitude at Arlington National Cemetery, by Page Johnson of McLean, Virginia. I recommend that you read it at this link.

Here's a short excerpt.

So on this day of memories, I come to tell them thank you. I come to tell them I honor their service and the heritage they have given me. Most of all, I come to tell them that they are neither alone nor forgotten. I will be here for them, in spirit and in deed, and for their fellow soldiers trying to make a safer world so the children of every mother and father can sleep securely at night.

This photo is another that left me in tears.  This Memorial Day weekend, please pause to honor and remember the U.S. military dogs, who have been selflessly serving since World War II. In this photo, Staff Sgt. Thomas Sager carries the body of Dinomt (pronounced "dynomite"), a 90-pound German shepherd killed by an IED while on patrol in Kandahar. "He somehow took most of the blast, saving my life," his handler, Petty Officer 2nd Class Leroy Williams, said in an article a couple of months after Dinomt died. "I am eternally grateful. … There has not been a night go by yet that I don't miss him and even cry for him."

So many images - so many stories - define Memorial Day. "Thank you" doesn't seem adequate. While there will be pageantry, picnics, parades, concerts, and fireworks today, many of us will be thinking tearfully about the heroes who gave their lives so that we could live in peace.

Photos courtesy of unknown, nbcnews.com, National Geographic, and the Washington Post

3 comments:

Lisa Peterson said...

Amen.

Elizabeth Mc-B said...

It's sad to think how many forget the reasons behind these holidays. Also difficult to imagine our veterans are suffering in our Country with little to no assistance. I am thankful for all who paid the ultimate price for protecting our Country and our freedom. We should always be mindful of our Military, and be appreciative for what they sacrifice for all of us. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Well said.