Here in the U.S., it is Memorial Day; a national holiday which, to many, means a day off from work, a backyard barbecue and the beginning of Summer. But the reason for the holiday is to honor and remember American soldiers who lost their lives, protecting our freedom.
I spent some time yesterday going through my Mom’s old scrapbook, where she did a great job of chronicling letters, photos and telegrams from when my Dad fought in World War II, in the 1940’s.
It got me feeling all nostalgic, imagining what it was like for my parents, in their early twenties, married just a few months when my Dad went off to war. For years, their only form of communication was hand-written letters, which were censored, before delivery.
My Dad was one of the lucky ones; he came home alive.
And then I thought about my amazing nephew, Andre. He was also one of the lucky ones; a Green Beret, who came home from Aphganistan alive, yet without one of his legs.
And I thought about his incredible attitude that got him through unthinkable pain, countless surgeries and extensive rehab. And how today he walks, runs, surfs, snowboards and jumps out of planes, with a prosthetic leg. And he truly feels grateful and fortunate to be alive.
He inspires me.
(Here’s the video of him jumping out of a plane, after he lost his leg)
Then I started seeing tributes on social media and I became very aware of the young men and women who were not as fortunate as my Dad and nephew. I thought about their Moms and Dads, siblings, grandparents, spouses, children and friends; the ripple effect of all the lives that were changed forever, because they died while protecting our freedom.
They inspire me.
Then I received an email from my friend John David Mann. His newest book, Among Heroes will be released tomorrow. This true story of Brandon Webb, an elite Navy Seal who lost eight of his closest friends, in the line of duty to our country can’t get to my mailbox fast enough.
It seemed wherever I turned, there was another reminder… to remember.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing to celebrate this Memorial Day, I hope you will reflect and remember the reason you have the day off from work; the reason you have the freedom to enjoy this day with family and friends.
Sincere gratitude to the men and women who serve our great country and the families who love them.