To the brave, courageous souls who have given their all for this great nation, you have my everlasting gratitude and infinite respect.
Memorial Day is not a hashtag, not a barbecue, not a sale at the mall; it is a solemn time to remember, to publicly and privately thank, to mourn the painful emptiness, and to humbly celebrate those who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces — and to eternally stand with and pray for bereaved families. Your service, your selflessness, your sacrifice make it such that I/we can live, think, struggle, create, challenge and work towards a more perfect union that protects and defends human rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." — Mark Twain. No politic, no party, no person can disrupt or threaten my belief in the promise of America and unwavering support of our military. As individuals and collectives, we cannot, would not and will not be here without you. I salute, honor and thank our fallen heroes, those who risk their lives, and the families of these valiant men and women. We will never forget, we will never overlook, we will never leave you alone.
I am the proud granddaughter of a solider and the grateful first cousin of an active member of our troops who did two tours in the Middle East, but have only one close friend who has served. No one in my immediate circle has ever died in the line of duty, which is true for millions of Americans removed from the grave reality of too many military families, reflected in the hollow posts, attitude and air around this holiday. I ask myself: would the sentiment towards Memorial Day be different if each of us knew more of the human beings who serve, the few who protect the many, the soldiers who never came home?
I will endeavor to do more to honor you and express my unremitting gratitude. We live because of and for you.
(I wrote this on a prior Memorial Day and share each year, for my sentiments are the same. And now, as our nation mourns collectively, we must recognize once more that each of our experiences with loss, sacrifice and service is vastly different.)