Yesterday was Memorial Day. And while I certainly enjoyed my time with family and friends who were enjoying a three day weekend, I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about what this day is really about.
I heard numerous times on television the phrase ” Happy Memorial Day!” I read the same sentiments across multiple social media forums, online newspapers, and even on radio ads. And every time I heard it it made me really stop and think.
Is this day really happy?
I don’t really think so. I think this day is a bit of a conundrum (and I think a lot of people misunderstand what this day is really “celebrating”). For me, Memorial Day isn’t as much about a celebration, though we do spend the weekend at the lake eating good food and taking boat rides, as it is about pausing to remember the more than 600,000 soldiers who have given their lives serving this nation. Sacrificed their existence so we are safe and free to continue ours.
When I think about the families of those we are honoring on this day, my heart explodes with compassion and gratitude. For many forget that those left behind continue to pay the price of their soldier’s sacrifice everyday. They must continue to “soldier on” in the face of grief, sorrow, anger, resent, hopelessness and fear everyday.
So while yes, I did indeed have a happy weekend, I never stopped remembering why yesterday was such an important day.
And with that, I say one final thing;
Thank you to every soldier who sacrificed their life so that I could continue to live mine freely. Thank you to every soldier who never made it home. Thank you to every soldier whose family is one member less. And thank you to the families of those who fell, for your sacrifice is worth the same gratitude.