It's Memorial Day weekend. We, as a country, remember our service men and women and all they have sacrificed for us.
But do we really?
We say these things, we sing the national anthem, we post pictures of flags, we take the day off of work. What does all of that really mean?
I appreciate the fact that I have freedom, but I don' think I've ever really thought about what that freedom costs. I live in a safe, clean, peaceful world. I've never been shot at, been in immediate danger, been severely wounded, or been witness to the death of comrades. I've never said goodbye to everything I know and love so that I can protect it with my own life.
I've also never had to keep up with the time difference between here and Afghanistan so that I can keep a Skype date with my husband. I've never truly worried that my father, my brother, or my son might not make it through a day or come home for Christmas. I've never sent care packages with postage that costs as much as the contents with letters attached that might as well be sheets of gold.
And I honestly can't even imagine.
Least of all, I can't imagine seeing them for the last time as they lie under a banner of red, white and blue. I can't imagine hearing taps and knowing they're not coming home. I can't imagine having nothing more than pictures, mementos and a strong sense of pride to cling to.
But millions can. Millions do. Every day.
I am so thankful to anyone who has ever served or is serving in the military or for the public safety. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, firefighters, police officers and all first responders have my utmost respect, because although I've never done what they do and can't imagine the sacrifices they and their families make, I know that they made the choice to protect the rest of us. They willingly lay it all on the line to preserve the rights of others. They make our cozy, safe, clean, easy lives possible.
So for that, I give you my sincerest thanks. From the bottom of my heart.
I have done nothing out of the ordinary to honor those men and women this weekend. In fact, I have to work today. But, if you are a veteran or are in active service, please know that I will carry thoughts of your sacrifice in my heart throughout the day and every day as often as I can. You deserve at least that much.
Know that your courage does not go unnoticed, your strength does not go unseen, and your valor does not go unappreciated. On this day, and every day. Thank you.