Sorry to rain on your ‘happy Memorial Day’, but Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor those who have given their lives in the defense of the USA and our constitution. They stood up and pledged to:
Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; ……..bear true faith and allegiance to the same; ……….take this obligation freely
… and they paid the ultimate price.
In our family, and I suspect in all Gold Star families, every day is a memorial day. You cannot pass through our house and not see a picture of Chris – Afghanistan, his wedding, with his sister, with his dog, with Amanda, as an infant. His Navy EOD paddle hangs in my office, with the dates of his birth and death burned into the wood – as it is burned in our lives. It says ‘Custodite et protegite nos’ – Watch over and protect us.
Back to ‘happy’ – Once you have done something to help memorialize the fallen – donated to a cause in their honor, gone to that parade to show that you remember, listened to a speech at a local war memorial, go and have some fun.
I know Chris would want you to honor and remember but also have some fun. You see, many and, probably most, of these men and women would not want you to mourn and grieve for too long. They want you to remember them and celebrate the lives they lived. Chris would be the one inviting people over, the first one at the cookout, the first to raise a glass to toast and remember the fallen, and then the first to recall the best of the happy times with those fallen heroes. There would be stories, smiles and laughs . . . . . . and tears.
Chris would choose love and joy . . . and a hope in the future. Happiness is the result of our current environment. Joy is from deep within. Joy comes out of love for others combined with the belief that tomorrow will be better. Chris lived that ethos.
So this weekend, please go out and remember and honor those who have sacrificed. Look for a way to pay forward their sacrifice. Something simple – and as you do it, let the recipient know for whom and why you are acting.
Now, that is a true memorial for a fallen warrior.