Memorial day rolls around each year and each year I take a few quiet minutes over the weekend to reflect on those who gave their last measure of devotion in the service of our country. For me, that’s not such an unusual thing. I think about our fallen all the time. I think about those rows upon rows of white headstones in our military cemeteries and about the men, long dead, who battled to protect the interests of the rest of America’s citizens in conflicts concluded before I took my first breath. I think about those lost in our more current wars. Sometimes I contemplate a particular quote from George S. Patton. He said “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” I can only manage to get half of that right. I do thank God that such men lived, but I feel an anxious tug when they pass. I think about their mothers and children…and it stings my heart. My friend, Gary Dolan, a Vietnam veteran and Army Ranger, created a touching piece about honoring the memory of the fallen on Memorial Day. He wrote “I believe our country deserves to be happy and free, because that happiness and freedom was bought with the blood of our fallen heroes. I think our fallen heroes would appreciate that our country is happy and free and would gladly accept that as a wonderful tribute to their sacrifice.” That sounds right to me. I think we honor them by living well, by being generous with each other, by showing kindness to our neighbors, by loving our families. We honor them by appreciating the hard-won liberties we enjoy and also by doing our part to protect and extend them to future generations.
Memorial Day – 2015