I must have been about 11 or 12 years old. My brother and I were staying with our cousin and his wife while our parents were on a business trip. It was the first time I ever had the tragedy of war touch my own life. It wasn’t someone I knew. It was my cousin’s wife’s ex-boyfriend, if I remember correctly. But, I was sitting there as she got word that he’d been killed in Vietnam.
I knew he was a soldier. I knew he was fighting a war somewhere on the other side of the world. I do not know if he was drafted or volunteered. I don’t know anything at all about him, other than the fact that people I loved mourned his passing.
Today is Memorial Day. It’s a day set aside to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. So, in the midst of today’s barbecues and sales, take a little time to think about those men and women who died wearing a United States uniform. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the politics involved. It doesn’t matter whether you think the mission was honorable. The very fact that you can publicly criticize our government’s choices in where and how to make use of the military is something we owe to those who have worn the uniform—especially those who died in it.
So, to those whose sacrifice we honor today, thank you. And, to those who are mourning fallen soldiers, sailors, or marines today, my prayers are with you.