Thoughts on Memorial Day

Today I’m glad I get to celebrate life even as I remember those who have fallen while serving their country.

Honestly, Memorial Day makes me a little bit emotional just because of my connection to the armed forces. My brother joined the Marines straight out of high school and served two tours in the Middle East. It was hard on my family, hard on me, and of course hard on my brother, but he made a sacrifice to serve his country in one of the riskiest ways possible. He put his life on the line to defend and protect.

So I’m very glad this Memorial Day that he came back from those two tours and that I can have a beer with him when I visit in June. I am blessed.

I know other families out there, however, do not have stories with happy endings like mine. My heart goes out to them. My heart goes out to those with new wounds and old wounds alike. I can understand the sacrifice these families made when they gave up their sons, daughters, husbands, and wives to pursue their passion to serve their country but I will never be able to understand the loss they’ve experienced. God bless the families left behind.

My final thoughts go out to those who have returned, but not without paying a price. As a psychology major I’ve learned about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I understand the basics of it, the symptoms, and the damage it can cause, but nothing compares to the fact that I have seen it up close and personal in people I love. PTSD is a serious problem for the men and women who come back from serving their country and I hope that our country continues to address the problem as it arises.

I also know there are those who come back from war with physical wounds, and my heart goes out to them and their sacrifice too. In the end, I hope people can come to understand just how much Memorial Day really means and what serving in the armed forces is. Young people leave their homes and their families to fight for something greater than themselves and rarely return unscathed, if they return at all. So this Memorial Day I pray that there would be a solemn awareness of the lives that have been put on the line so that we could have BBQs, parties, and a day off of work.

Don’t ever forget that.

If you’d like to help those who have come back from battle hurt and scarred, please consider donating to the Wounded Warrior Project. This is a great organization that works with returning soldiers and their families to help them acclimate to civilian life after an injury.