Friday, May 25, 2012

Thoughts for Memorial Day

Proud To Serve

There are some of you who may not know that I am a veteran. I am the son of a veteran. I am the nephew of several veterans, and cousin to some too. I also have relatives who are currently serving in the Armed Forces. We have all done our part, and in some cases--still doing, to protect this country, its people, and its freedoms. We have given of our lives and received in return; poor pay, lousy benefits, questionable healthcare, and hardships. We did it without question. Our country needed us and we served. We didn't do it for the prestige. We certainly didn't do it for the money. And if the current state of Veteran's Affairs is any indication--we didn't do it for the benefits either.

However, whatever our reasons for serving, and the lack of return for our investment, we served. And we served proudly. The sound of Reveille in the mornings and Taps in the evenings still sends a rush of emotions through our souls. The image of the American flag majestically waving in the breeze as our National Anthem plays in the background makes us stand a little straighter, and lift our heads, as we place our hands on our hearts in reverence and pride. The bonds of brotherhood unite us together, from the oldest vet to the youngest buck recruit. There's a twinkle in our eye and a resonant chord in our hearts that lets us know that no matter the unit, the branch, or the conflict, we are one: a fraternity of specially qualified individuals that cannot be breached by those less worthy. It makes us special.
Shoulder to shoulder--brother to brother
But we who have survived hold no greater honor than those who did not. In peacetime and in war, we who served still take a back seat to those who served--and died in the line of duty. The old poem says it best, "All gave some, but some gave all." For those who gave their all, there can be no greater sacrifice and no greater honor. Each of us who served and lived owes an unpayable debt to those who served and perished on our behalf.

This is Memorial Day, and it's not a time for parties and outdoor barbecues. Those things will happen, but the intent of this day is to remember. Remember those who made that ultimate sacrifice and honor them. As Americans we owe them a debt of gratitude that cannot be contained within a single weekend once a year. But this weekend is set aside to place these men and women in a place of honor that cannot be filled with any other. Jesus Himself said that there was no greater love than a man lay down his life for another. Those who died defending this great nation, its people, and its Constitution have demonstrated a love of God, country, and fellow man that cannot compare to any other. These who died are heroes. In every sense of the word they are heroes. These fallen, these proud, these honored dead.
The cost of freedom--the sacrifice of love

Remember them. As you grill out; as you play in the pool, or watch the game. Remember them. Honor them. Strive to live a life worthy of their sacrifice. America owes them a debt of honor; to live without freedom, pride, and honor is to disrespect the sacrifice made in the blood of America's sons and daughters. Remember...and honor them.
On behalf of a grateful nation...

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