Memorial Day: May We Remember and Honor

May 29, 2023

Memorial Day: May We Remember and Honor

Memorial Day: May We Remember and Honor

There are few things that get to me like Memorial Day. Thinking of the men and women who gave their life for me is an emotional thing to do. There are no words that put into perspective how special and hallowed this day is to our country; and to everyone who cherishes the inalienable rights and liberties every person has. These courageous men and women who paid the ultimate price represent the best of us, the best America can ever produce; for there is no greater love than a man lay down his life for his friends.  

I had the honor of doing a loan with a real estate agent who was a Gold Star mother. Her son was killed serving in Iraq in a surprise attack on random troops. Born and raised in Florida I remember reading about his death in the paper, and it hit home to me because he was from Gainesville, which wasn’t too far from where I lived at the time, in Jacksonville. Working for her and the memory of the sacrifice her son gave gave new meaning to doing your best, putting your heart and soul into the job, and making sure it got done. Thankfully, the loan closed after some appraisal challenges outside of anyone’s control. We keep in touch and I know on his birthday and today, Memorial Day, it’s especially hard for her and her family. She is ever in my thoughts and prayers. 

Answering the call of duty and of service, these men and women didn’t make any excuses doing their assignments. There was no other option and failure was always ever present. They did the hard jobs, the ones we didn’t want to do. They did it selflessly, courageously, and nobly, all for the cause of freedom. We complain too much and all too-often take this country for granted. But we should be ever aware of our place as we’re not worthy to walk in the mere shadow of the greatness of their sacrifice and memory. But we must try. Our liberties are literally paid for with the blood of American soldiers past and will forever be guarded by the blood of patriots future. 

Considering the heroism and sacrifice of these great men and women, this day has special meaning and significance for those who swear allegiance to the flag and constitution of the United States of America. Today we celebrate their sacrifice by using and enjoying the freedoms they gave us. That’s the way they would want it. They paid the ultimate price so that we can live in America.

Famed SEAL Team leader, Jocko Willink penned this open letter today to all American soldiers who paid a soldier's debt: 

Hey Brother, 

Just checking in. Looks like some of the other boys have come by today. 
Lot’s of flowers. Did you ever think you’d be getting a bunch of flowers from guys in the platoon? I sure didn’t. 
But here you go. 
They’ll look good for a little while anyway. 
Then they’ll wilt and brown. Then the gravekeeper will take them away. 
Nothing stays forever. 
I wish you could have stayed a little longer, though. 
I’d really like to see you smile again. Hear you laugh. 
Your laugh made other people laugh—me included. 
A little joy in the world. 
Joy that is now gone. I miss that. 
I miss you.  
But the world moves on. Time stops for no man. 
Look at me. Gray hair. Wrinkled skin. 
I’m the old guy we used to laugh about. 
Who’s laughing now? 
Even my kids are all grown up.
They aren’t kids anymore. You’d be proud. 
Time goes quick. 
You taught me that. 
You taught me so much. 
I was angry at first–angry at you, angry at myself, angry at the world. 
I couldn’t understand why–why you? 
Why were you taken from this world? Taken from me? 
My anger grew–but it was all for me. Selfish.  
Eventually, the anger consumed itself. 
I realized my anger was unwarranted. 
Over time, it diminished. 
Instead, I became thankful. 
Thankful to have known you. 
Thankful to have spent time with you.
Thankful to have served alongside you. 
Thankful to call you friend and brother. 
Thankful for this life you have given me.
You won’t grow old so I can. 
Your dreams were lost so my dreams could be found. 
Your hopes were extinguished, so my hopes could be realized. 
Your future was cut short–so my future could flourish. 
In your death, you gave me life. 
I will live this life to the fullest. 
I promise: 
I will not squander a moment–not a breath, not a sunset, not a laugh. 
I will live to honor the gift you gave me. 
The life I owe you. 
I will never forget. 
Until next time, 

Your Brother

From someone who served alongside those who died, who called them brother and sister, who loved them and would have gave their lives for them in a second, this above is the way we should honor those who died this Memorial Day. May God bless their souls and comfort the still-grieving families of those they loved.

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