In remembrance, We Honor

25 May

Today is May 25, 2015.

It is Monday.

Where I live, it has been mostly sunny.

I slept in this morning.

It is the unofficial first day of summer.

These are all true statements about today, and yet they are not the most important, for today is also Memorial Day.

Today is the day we are supposed to honor the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. These brave men and women who laid down their lives so that I, you, we may live in peace and without fear.

But do we remember the names? The stories? The faces? The families left behind with empty seats at the dinner table and echoes of their loved one’s voice in their ears? Do we honestly remember that freedom has never and will never truly be free? Someone, somewhere paid a high price.

image image image

As I stood listening at our local Memorial Day service, a story was recounted of a local boy who fought valiantly during World War II. He would not return home alive. The speaker stated he is “forever young” – and as I reflected on that statement and it’s truth, it really sunk in. Today we remember the lives that were ended far too soon, the young men and women who would never grow old, right along side the veterans of wars past who are not with us this year to share their stories and wisdom with the youth today.

The ringing of the bell and the reading of the deceased is one of the most sombering moments as it is heralded by the Twenty-One Gun salute and the playing of Taps.

When I was a high school student I had the opportunity to play Taps twice, once as a freshmen and again as a senior. It is hauntingly beautiful, and whenever I hear it I can’t help but get emotional thinking about the number of times it is played as a last farewell to our fallen men and women all across the country.

Yes, today is a day when many communities will have parades, kids will be out of school, businesses will be closed and people will gather for BBQs and picnics. But during all of that excitement, I ask that each of us take a moment to reflect, to pause, to really let the weight of this day and the meaning behind it sink in.

Freedom isn’t free. The debt is paid everyday by the loved ones who must carry on, but as a community let us embrace these families so the weight might be spread over more shoulders. While no one could ever replace that person or perfectly fill that void, the love, support and encouragement can do wonders for the family. I’ve seen it happen twice in my community, and today I proudly wore a USMC shirt in one of their honors.

My sister, Macayla and I

My sister, Macayla and I

And, because I have a couple of pictures from our parade, I’ll include those here at the end.

Happy Memorial Day, may we always remember those who are forever young, gone too soon while protecting the country they loved.

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