I (like many of you) grew up thinking that memorial day was a day of BBQ and swimming. It was a day to enjoy some grilled corn on the cob, and good friends. Oh yeah, and it was a day my veteran father put a flag out on the front of our house.
As an adult (and a therapist who has had the privilege to work with some fine combat veterans) I realize that memorial day is so much more. For me, it's an exercise in gratitude and patriotism. Its a day to "remember the fallen." For for my combat veteran clients- "the fallen" have a face, a name, and a family. It's a day for me to bring out my flag. For my combat veteran clients- that flag was protected with the lives of their friends.
And so will I BBQ on memorial day? Absolutely. Will I enjoy good food and good friends? You bet! But I will also be taking my son to a local memorial service at a cemetery in the morning. I expect it to be rather difficult (with a toddler) and not a great deal of fun in the traditional sense. But I want my son to know: his freedom came at a high price.
I live in peace with my family. I live without fear because countless strangers (men and women with their own families) gave their life for it. And so, I want to say thank you. "Thank you" noble and dear veterans. Your service and sacrifice makes my cushy life possible. My gratitude seems like a small return on your investment... but I offer it wholeheartedly.
With Gratitude and Respect,