In Memory Of

I just read an interesting post by my friend on his Facebook page.

My friend was in the Air Force for about 12 years. The time we lived in the same city he was deployed on three or four different occasions. At the time, I really didn’t understand the weight of being deployed. I hung around the Air Force crowd my latter years in college. Some would be there, and then all of a sudden I wouldn’t see them for 6-8 months. Thankfully, everyone I knew came back safe and sound.

Not everyone can say the same.

This brings us to the present. In his post, my friend lamented because he lost a friend to the war in Afghanistan seven months ago. Facebook tributes to passed friends and loved ones are fairly common. However, this particular post has a special meaning to it. It opened my eyes to the meaning of this day.

Today is Memorial Day.

Usually, Memorial Day is nothing more than a day off for me. A much needed break from the rigors of the work world. I kick it with the family, grill, and enjoy my day off. I hope for good weather so I can reap the benefits of a beautiful day. In all of my hopes and dreams of Memorial Day, I never once thought about the lives lost to grant me the freedom of this day.

I’m a spoiled American, and there’s plenty of Americans like me.

My friend’s post piqued my interest. His friend was a young lady with her whole life ahead of her. I don’t know much about her, so questions loom. Did she reach her dreams? Why did she join the military? Did she get married and have a family? Did she want to have a family? Did she have any siblings? These are questions I cannot answer. However, I can answer one.

Who is this woman? She is brave. Fearless. Committed. A soldier. A hero. She is to be remembered as such.

This lady lost her life to protect the values of being an American. Values our country is losing grip on by the second. Values that we shirk because society is “evolving.” Values we really don’t value. We have our own verbal wars. We argue about the turmoil in our society with no offers for solution. We go to sleep, and hopefully wake up the next day only to hate our brother. Yet, people are dying for the cause of America.

And we don’t even remember the values that made us the greatest country in the world.

That being said, I want to say thank you. Thank you to the men and women who have lost their lives. Thank you for giving your life so I could enjoy the freedom of being an American. I also want to apologize. Your efforts were not appreciated like they should be. Please forgive me.

I said thank you too late.

Let us take a moment to remember.

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[Image Credit Flickr via Michael Klumm]

[Image Credit Flickr via The U.S. Army]

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