I live in a small town in California, a town known for ranching and close community ties. This small town of mine has built an extraordinary tribute to our military men and women called Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial. It sits near our park and beautiful lake and stands as a daily reminder of all who have sacrificed so much.
This memorial draws hundreds of people each Memorial and Veteran’s Day, as you would expect. The Foundation puts on moving tributes each year with music and speakers, honoring those we have lost and those who continue to serve. More importantly, the memorial is a place where anyone is welcome – day or night – to pay their respects to the fallen.
I’m so very grateful that we have this incredible memorial in our town, built by our own residents. I’m so thankful there is a permanent place to honor those who serve and those who have served. I’m so blessed that the community I live in recognizes the sacrifice made by so many, and chooses to honor those sacrifices in this way.
Yes, Memorial Day is a day for us to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. But I believe those men and women need to be honored and remembered every single day of the year. Without them we would not have the freedoms we do. Without their service one can only imagine the chaos our lives would be in.
On this Memorial Day, I ask of you what I ask of myself:
Thank a Veteran for his or her service
Attend a Memorial Day event in your city
Take a moment to remember how lucky each and every one of us are
Be grateful there are men and women who volunteer for service
As I’ve mentioned before, my dad is a Veteran of the Korean War. Up until a few years ago, we regularly attended Memorial Day events together. Since he’s now taken to volunteering at our local Veteran’s Museum, he spends his Memorial Day giving back. This Memorial Day, like the past few, he will spend the entire day educating people who visit the museum. He’ll answer questions, probably share a few laughs, and generally continue to serve just as he did when he was a soldier so many years before. He’ll do this not because it’s expected of him, but because it’s something he feels called upon to do. Just as he felt called upon to enlist in the Coast Guard as a young man.
I believe we can all stand to inherit more of these ‘service’ values: honor, sacrifice, loyalty. We owe it to our fallen to do more, to try harder, and to respect what so many have given. We owe it to all service men and women – past and present – to be grateful for the freedoms they provide us.
Have a blessed Memorial Day everyone. And to our soldiers, I thank you. Today and every day.