I know what a lot of people have been doing this weekend. It is, after all, the unofficial start to summer. And for folks in the eastern and northern climes, it’s a chance to shake off winter, albeit, with social distancing, and get outside to enjoy the sun, the wind, and nature. It’s a time for bar be ques, and grilling out. Spending time at the beach, or if you’re like me…in a normal year… watching the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 all in one day.
But there’s something even more important than that.
We are celebrating Memorial Day to remember those that gave their lives for us. Overall, in all of our conflicts, police actions, and wars since the Revolutionary War, there have been 1,354,000 deaths in our military (in war). Another 40,000 were declared Missing In Action. Today celebrates those 1.4 million people that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I could be free. That is why we are celebrating today.
I have several friends that served in the armed services. I knew a couple back in Vietnam that lost their lives, and I’ll never forget the anguish and grief their parents went through right up to the point when they saw their sons again in Heaven. And I don’t limit my thoughts and prayers to just those that didn’t come back. I also think about my friends, co-workers, and neighbors that gave up years of their lives to serve in our military. Some of them went to Vietnam, and others to various skirmishes around the globe.
I think of the year that my daughter and granddaughter moved in with us in Ohio, when her husband, a Navy reservist, was called up for duty in Iraq. Now, I really respect the sacrifice he made in leaving his daughter who was about 8 months old, and going overseas for a full year, with only one break to come home and visit. But to be honest, it was one of the neatest times to get to see my one granddaughter grow up, turn one, take her first steps, and eat sugar for the first time! I still have the video of that one!
So, today, as we get set to fire up the grill, head to the beach (unless you live in California and don’t want to be arrested for walking on “dry sand”), or open the backyard swimming pool, please take a moment. Please remember the reason we are here, the reason we are free. Please remember those 1.4 million folks that offered their lives to you. They were totally unselfish, totally willing to serve their country, and totally willing to give up those lives and those futures for the good of our country. Let’s never forget them today, or every day!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!