The Weight of Freedom
Today and everyday I’m thinking about the freedom I’m afforded because of the more than 1.4 million service members killed in action at the hand of the enemy. The men and women who raised their right hand, trained and took off to fight for freedom around the world.
I’m remembering the Airmen, Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Coasties, Reservists and members of the National Guard who died for me, protecting my right to live, work and play as I please. I’m reflecting on the lives lost and the legacies that live on through family, through friends and through all Americans who pause to honor their selfless service and ultimate sacrifice.
The weight of their gift — in the name of freedom — can be a heavy burden to bear, especially for those who served alongside them. That burden is something I can empathize with, something I can respect, something I can honor but it’s not something that I can say I have experienced first hand… and maybe that’s why so many Americans — civilians like me — shy away from the true meaning of Memorial Day. So many spend the long weekend at the end of May without a second thought towards those who laid down their lives, who sacrificed for us all.
And still there are many veterans who may have returned home physically, but the hidden wounds of war were buried deep and too much to bear. Those who returned home from foreign soil to the safety of American shores. They were battle worn and weary, yet still warriors. Warriors who accepted the inherent hazards of their profession, placing the welfare and security of others before their own.
They fought the enemy face to face in countries many of us will never see, yet when they arrived stateside they were still on guard, fighting a war within, ultimately losing their battle by their own hand.
I’ve heard it said, “The mortal wounds of war are many, visible and invisible. At times, the distance between injury and death is long. Just as we remember those warriors who died of wounds we could see, so we remember our warriors who died of wounds we could not see.”
This weekend, this Memorial Day, give gratitude to those who gave their all and honor the legacies of those who left us too soon.
Honor, always remember and never forget the fallen. Carry their names and their memories with us each and every day and live a life worthy of their sacrifice.