Today I'm going to appeal to the American People. Those who perhaps mean well, but in a good nature gesture obscure the true meaning of this sacred day.
It is bound to happen. Each Memorial Day my Facebook notifications begin to chime like a Vegas casino.
"Thank you for your service"...
"Happy Memorial Day to all our Soldiers"...
But, I need you to know, and understand, that today isn't about me. On this day I do not seek or hope to be thanked. I do not wish for attention to be called to my service. Memorial Day is about my brothers and sisters who've lain down their lives so others, so we all, may live free. This day (or weekend) is somber for us... as it should be for the rest of America.
We don't throw BBQs and parties on September 11th. We don't have a "blow out sale" on Pearl Harbor Day. Americans sit in solemn reflection of the lives lost, and yet Memorial Day - the day set aside to remember 1,321,612 lives GIVEN is chalked up as the flag waiving opening day of Summer.
1,321,612 LIVES GIVEN*
Let that sink in. Some people throw on a stars 'n stripes bathing suit and hit the beach instead of the War Memorial. They're more concerned about finding a good parking spot than finding a service to attend.... or perhaps we've forgotten how deep this day cuts for some.
As a Service Member I've been given the sacred duty of performing final honors for the fallen. I've executed a 21- Gun Salute, carried a flag draped casket. I've had a mother's tears soak my uniform while I battled my own grief in order to maintain my military bearing. Those aren't just names in the hallowed ground of Arlington, they are my brothers and sisters. I've choked on sobs as the deafening silence of final roll call fills a room.
There are millions mourning. We are losing young men and women every single day to suicide because the scars have cut too deep or the grief and guilt are too much to carry. There are mothers, spouses, fathers, siblings and children who cannot gain relief because their loved one is gone. There are still 1, 629* Service Members who are unaccounted for... missing... lost. One Thousand Six Hundred and Twenty-Nine families who have no answers.
Memorial Day is for the Lost and Fallen. Memorial Day is an opportunity to stand up and truly show your support for our Gold Star Families. To reach out to our military community and say - if you are struggling we are here! We cannot allow ourselves to lose another...
I ask you to celebrate with purpose. Respect that our Freedoms came at a high and painful cost. Raise your glass to the fallen. Support an event in your area specifically planned in honor of those lost. Take a little bit of that beer money you were going to throw away and support a Gold Star Family. Hunt down a Team RWB chapter and join their 21 Guns WOD with Warriors and physically show the military and Gold Star community that you care, that you haven't forgotten. On Monday, attend your local Memorial Day Service. Contact the VFW or American Legion in your area and ask how you can honor the fallen - where you can pay your respects.
Veterans and Military Families, appreciate the gratitude and support of the American people, we are humbled by your patriotism, it is an honor and a privilege to serve. We respectfully ask on Memorial Day, in lieu of saying "Thank You for your service!"
Tell the world...