I know that Monday friends will post on my facebook page or text me to say "Happy Memorial Day" and to thank C for his service.
It happens every year.
And I know that people mean well. It's hard to remember or to know what this day is about. I struggle with it every year. Yesterday C and I made it out to the outlet mall and took advantage of the "Memorial Day" sales - really took advantage. Today I picked up a set of red and white plates with stars on it and then put it back.
Grills are on sale, patio furniture is discounted, grocery stores are packed. Everyone is getting ready for the big weekend.
People are gathering to "celebrate".
I find that many times people think this day is equivalent to Veterans' Day or the Fourth of July. I cannot fault anyone for the confusion. Everything is marketed to party and to celebrate on Memorial Day. I didn't understand it before I lived this life either.
On Veterans' Day we celebrate those who have served - the living. We remember their sacrifices, their service, their selflessness. We remember them for what some of them may someday give. We shake their hands. We thank them. We honor. We celebrate their unbelievable sense of duty.
On this day, on Memorial Day, we honor the dead. We remember the fallen. We mourn, we say their names, we touch their grave markers. On this day the hands we hold are the widows'. The hugs we give are to the mothers and fathers who have lost a son or daughter. The tears we shed are for the fatherless and motherless children.
This day, we remember those who laid down their lives in defense of the nation. This day is to pray for the widows and the parents and the children. This day is to honor their fallen by supporting them, by loving them, by respecting the sacrifice.
Monday - as we did the last Memorial day - our family will go to the wall at Fort Carson and silently read the names etched into the granite. Flowers and letters and favorite liquors will be left at the memorial. I never met a single one of these soldiers. I do not know their families but I have promised to honor, to remember, to recognize the sacrifice that is ongoing.
This day is hardest for the gold-stars. This day is hardest for those who relive the sacrifice every morning that they wake up without the other breathing, every night that they fall asleep without the other there.
This day we must remember those they have loved and will always love.
If you spend this time celebrating, recognize the life that was given to allow you to - the thousands upon thousands upon thousands that have been given. Without knowing your name, without knowing your journey, before you were born, a soldier died to ensure your future.
Remember those they loved.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
If there is a fallen hero you wish to remember please add their name to the comments.