Somewhere today, a dad is outside yelling at that gas grill that won’t light. A mom is whipping up her perfect potato salad that everyone expects at the picnic. A son is crashing on his folks’ sofa and getting scolded to take his shoes off first.
These are the little things that go on in households across America on Memorial Day every year. The heartbeat of a holiday that means preparations for the first big barbecue. Kids home from college and eating their way through the refrigerator. The smell of a new mown lawn, and the squeals of kids playing in the sprinkler, shivering, because it’s still just a little too chilly for that.
But today, we remember the quiet households. The ones where Mom polishes the frame that holds the flag she was given at her son’s burial. The homes where a boy sits in a chair and stares at the wall, wondering why Dad never came back from Afghanistan – when he promised he would. The quiet apartment where a widow sits alone, because she just can’t go to the church picnic and be stared at or avoided. The nursing home where an elderly veteran remembers, once again, the friends he lost on the battlefields in his youth.
These are the hearts that beat just a little slower today.
Our nation “celebrates” a day that breaks the hearts of so many of our citizens. I’m not against picnics and volleyball….but I’m not sure that wishing someone a “Happy” Memorial Day is really the sentiment to be shared. This isn’t Veteran’s Day. It’s not the Fourth of July. It’s a time to remember the price paid for our freedom, and to be grateful for it.
As people around the world are rising up against tyranny in their own countries, dying for their freedom, let us not take for granted those who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice to make America the nation she is. Throughout our history, men and women have felt passion about what our nation stands for and stood in the line of fire — so we wouldn’t have to. They left homes, jobs, spouses, children, and took on duties far away as our country sent them, and so many never returned to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Thank you, heroes. We will never forget what you have done for us.
President, Operation Write Home