Please take a minute to think about the one’s who fought overseas but didn’t come home. Think about their mothers, their fathers, their brothers and sisters. Think about their kids and their spouses. We spend a few minutes thinking about the ones who lost their lives once a year. These family members think about their lost loved ones every day of their lives.
These people who lost their lives were volunteers while others were drafted. Some willing went off to fight, others were reluctantly shipped off. Some; and their families, were lucky enough to have their remains found and buried. Others; and their families, weren’t so lucky. Some cried out as their blood soaked some worthless, unknown foreign piece of dirt for reasons they didn’t understand, while others were gone in the blink of an eye.
For many, this isn’t just a day off from work. This is a day when they think about the ones who went over there with them, but didn’t come home with them. Friends, people as close as family, died in front of their eyes, bled out in their arms, or were carried off to the rear with medical staff, never to be seen again. The only thing left of their buddy is some slab of marble and a few etched words they could visit every couple of years.
While their friends died, they had to carry on the mission, and put their friends out of their minds until the fighting stopped. Only to have those memories and emotions hit them like a ton of bricks when they got home, realizing that their friends won’t ever be there again. No more joking in the barracks, no more taking trips to the bar together. Everything is no more. A piece of them is gone, and there will always be a hole. There will always be sadness.
To all I knew who gave the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq, and all others I didn’t know, but gave the same sacrifice in America’s conflicts going all the way back to the Revolutionary War, this is the day we commemorate you. We hold you in our thoughts, and recognize your short lived lives. You lived, you fought, and you died. Often in places you couldn’t even pronounce the name of, and for people who cared even less about what you were there to do. You are more than just a number in a statistic or a name on a wall. You are America’s loved ones, and you will never be forgotten.
Happy Memorial Day