Those who are currently serving or have served in the military, those who have a loved one who is serving or has served in the military, and those who have lost a loved one that served in the military tend to have a somber recognition of what Memorial Day seeks to honor. I hesitate to suggest, but I will, that it takes this level of proximity to military engagement to fully understand the depth of the commitment to country and the burden carried by a select group of folks and their families. I say this because prior to my son Noah’s military service I only understood said service to the extent that I could from the outside of it, but not from the inside of it. One must be in the bowels of this engagement to liberty and freedom to fully understand the folks so committed to the ideological underpinnings of this country that they will willingly give their lives to defend it. Until one either makes that level of commitment or is forced to honor that commitment as made by a loved one, I would suggest it is almost impossible to view Memorial Day with the same level of recognition.
This is not to say that I diminish the recognition of Memorial Day by those who do not fall in the above categories, but instead to say that I acknowledge the heightened recognition of those folks who have a personalized understanding and appreciation of the cost. As the mother of a disabled veteran…a mother who didn’t exhale for the entirety of the time her son was in active combat mode…I understood the difference between how I understood Memorial Day before my son’s service as opposed to during and after. There is something about having a direct stake in the defense of this country’s ideals that heightens the few days each year when the entire country pauses to reflect upon such service.
Today I recognize and honor all those who currently serve or have served, and particularly all of those who have perished due to their commitment to protecting and furthering the ideals of this country in times of combat in foreign lands – to include those who died in the theater and those who died later from injuries sustained from their service to country. I also specifically honor all of our veterans who gave a piece of themselves that they can never reclaim – a piece that forever reshaped the reality of their lives.
Image courtesy of Cox & Forkum.
Yes, I view Memorial Day differently these days – now I understand the importance of this day in the eyes of members of the military (past and present) and their families. So much has been given so that we can enjoy these freedoms our country holds dear. This is a day of remembrance and reverence for futures lost and futures won – this is a day of somber recognition that freedom is not free.
Day one thousand four hundred and nineteen of the new forty – obla di obla da