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Mark this Memorial Day with courage

Memorial Day in America honors the fallen heroes who served our country and gave their lives to maintain our freedoms. It is a day set aside to celebrate bravery, courage, and conviction.

This day in May is the holiday which reminds each of us to be grateful and honor our heroes.

Also, on a typical Memorial Day in America, neighborhood pools are filled with squeals, splashes, and the sunny faces of children. Picnics and family reunions dot parks, as the aroma of barbeque wafts through the warm air.

Memorial Day weekend is the launch of summer when vacations and graduations mark our calendars. Because of all the busy, fun things we do on Memorial Day, we often neglect to say, “Thank you,” to the soldier who no longer can be with us as we play.

However, on May 25, 2020, that could all change.

This Memorial Day, it is doubtful we will observe many large picnics, or crowds at parks, or family reunions, or kids splashing in swimming pools. School students will not celebrate graduations, and no cameras will flash from proud parents as their child receives their diploma. 

No, this Memorial Day, will go down in history as the quietest, saddest, and most troubling because of a virus that paused all celebrations. The day has the potential to put us all in a depressed state as we live through a very uncertain, emotional holiday.

However, instead of wallowing in our self-pity, let us get back to what Memorial Day represents.

What did the bravery of soldiers do? The soldier’s actions enable our flag to continue to wave proudly over those closed schools. The soldier’s victory allows us all to obtain an education if we so desire.

The battles they fought and won gave us all the privilege to continue to pray, to vote, to freely speak, and to play.

The heroes who give their lives for us to live ours requires a bit of a payback. We could all lament our misfortunes on May 25.

However, our service now is to pay the price to maintain a victory of our own.

We will return to the barbeques, the family reunions, and have another Memorial Day. The fallen soldier will not.

How we honor those champions who are gone, is not to feel sorry for ourselves, but rather sacrifice what we must with the same grit they exemplified. 

The little children who will miss the slide at the pool, will one day return to squeal and splash.

The graduates will miss walking across a stage this year, but perhaps one of them will develop medicines for a safer future. Maybe, one will lead soldiers into battle, and another will unify our country.

Children who are alive today will travel through the rest of their lives, understanding that their world can change without notice.  Many will have the backbone to handle any tribulation because of how their parents managed this crisis.

Soldiers walk among us today, who are wearing masks and protective gear in hospitals across our country.

There are soldiers today who wear uniforms with a badge called to protect us, or volunteer soldiers wearing aprons who dispense food for those in need.

Soldiers are everywhere in a battle, so those we love will be here to enjoy future Memorial Days.

Our celebration this year is as it should be. We should honor those soldiers with flags waving, hands clapping, and shouting prayers of thankfulness.

We should decorate our cars, wave our banners, and sing our praises for the bravery, courage, and conviction of our soldiers both here now and gone.

On May 25, let the quiet of the day bring a boost in patriotism and a determination to heal our land.

We should be proud to fight for all those we love by giving of ourselves to maintain the safety of our people and deliver what we can to those in need.

When I think of those fellow American’s I knew who died in Viet Nam and those family and friends of my parents who didn’t return home from wars, I feel suffering.

I can hear the cries of their families and empathize with the toll it took on their days. However, I know the soldier’s journey continues because of the courage and valor they once displayed. Their stories of heroism live on in their families across this land.

Let’s honor them this Memorial Day, not with our despair, but with grateful hearts, and unstoppable courage.