Guest blogged by DES
Veteran's Day is intended to honor and remember the sacrifices of those who came home from our nation's wars and military actions around the world, and celebrate their ongoing contribution to society. Memorial Day is reserved for remembrance of those we have lost.
This day does not occur in a vacuum --- aside from the opportunity to gather with family and friends, it is one of those days that reminds us we are all Americans, all joined together in a shared journey through history.
Please take a moment today to remember those souls who have served and passed from us. Take a moment to thank their family members, who have also sacrificed, who have borne the loss of their loved ones in the service of our country. Take a moment to reach out to a veteran who has surely lost friends in the battlefield, and let them know you have not forgotten. Take a moment to reach out to a current service member and their family, and let them know they are not forgotten or invisible.
Take a moment to visit your local military cemetery, to teach the young ones among you why we do this every year on the last Monday in May --- show them who has gone before them, teach them that there is a special place reserved in our hearts for those who have served our country, in war and peace, and why.
Regardless of whether you agree with the policies that have placed our service members in harm's way, these individual men and women in our military family are each unique American individuals, with mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children, extended family, friends, co-workers... each has a constellation of hearts bound to them. (Oddly, there is no special day for the families of those who have served.)
It is not humanly possible to fully comprehend the loss of each and every one of these souls, or to adequately sum up each of their lives, but we can strive to remember them, honor them, and honor the sacrifice of those they have left behind.
Wherever an American service member remains in harm's way, we will strive to bring them home safely, so that we may honor and celebrate them, in person, on Veteran's Day. And we will continue to work and pray for a time to come when we will have no new losses to grieve on Memorial Day.
Following, some food for thought in contemplation on this Day of Memory...
...It brings to mind the words of Army Sergeant 1st Class Jack Robison, who recently wrote from Iraq, "Sometimes I think God must be creating an elite unit in heaven, because He only seems to select the very best soldiers to bring home early."
I ask myself this question as the father of a U.S. soldier who will soon redeploy to Iraq.
Waiting for his father's return, Austin began writing down his thoughts on slips of paper and dropping them in a jar. No one knows what he writes. "He and his dad can go through them," his grandmother said, "when he's home."
Feel free to add your own thoughts for the jar by leaving them here in comments...