I have a challenge for you this Memorial Day Weekend…
Find a Veteran of any war that you don’t know and go up to him and thank him and his fallen comrades for their service and sacrifice. Buy him or her lunch or beer. Pay for his groceries if he’s in front of you in the line.
It’s doesn’t matter what your opinion is on the war in Iraq – or any other war for that matter – that fact remains that the foundation of this great nation was built on the blood, sweat and tears of those who gave their lives fighting for freedom and our way of life.
I think one my favorite Milbloggers (and veteran) Matt Burden at Blackfive has it exactly right. He writes:
Enjoying your freedom and understanding its value is the best way to honor the sacrifices of my friends.
There will be countless parades and ceremonies to honor the finest military on the planet – and even flyovers in Washington honoring the Air Force’s 60th Birthday too. But nothing can possibly come close to repaying the debt of gratitude we as a nation owe to those fallen heroes, our wounded veterans and to the families who have been affected by their loss.
I will think of the 5 Marines of Alpha Company, 1/24, who gave their lives fighting in Fallujah to make a difference in a country full of chaos. I’ll remember the many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Guardsmen that I have had the privilege of meeting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I will recall how incredibly difficult it is to wake up in a far away dangerous place, mount up your armor after months of no sleep and head into harm’s way.
Courage and leadership are neither easy nor popular. But we have on this Memorial Day the opportunity to honor those who most exemplify those qualities.
There is a story this morning that Democrat Presidential Candidate John Edwards’ website is encouraging folks to “make a sign that reads SUPPORT THE TROOPS – END THE WAR and take it to your local Memorial Day parade.”
At first glance, my blood began to boil. But after getting to chat with my friend – and a guy whose support for the troops is relentless as demonstrated by his actions – Gary Sinise here in the hallway at FOX News, I am reminded of the real significance of this weekend. Gary, whom I first met in Iraq on a USO Tour in 2003, is leading a parade on Monday in Washington to honor our veterans. His take on the Edwards’ call to action was that it’s really not the “appropriate day” for protesting but that “it is a free country.”
So enjoy your holiday weekend and never forget the cost of it. Live everyday as if it were your last. And always remember, how we live our lives is the true legacy of those who have so selflessly given so much for us.
God Bless America.