"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Doesn't Feel Right

Over the weekend and on Memorial Day I saw status after status talking about our troops. There was a comment posted that may or may not have been directed at my post for that weekend which read: 

Every Memorial Day, people take the time to thank C and I for his service to this nation. The sentiment is beyond kind but that is not what this day is. This day - this weekend - is a time to remember the fallen, to remember their families.It is a day to mourn. A day to remember. A day to be grateful for the men and women who GAVE THEIR LIVES for your freedom, for your comfort. We celebrate them and mourn them. We are humbled by their incomparable selflessness - their complete sacrifice.

This weekend is a time to remember the dead. To name the fallen. To remember those they left behind - because there isn't a moment that they forget.


Below it I posted the photo that belongs to my friend of her husband's grave. When I asked Tiffany if I could use her photo, I told her I wanted to share it to show what Memorial Day is truly all about. In her gracious, gracious manner, she told me absolutely. 

The comment that I read talked about how of course Service-members should be thanked on this day and any day. That there are few days more appropriate to do so. I can understand that thinking - in total. 

Few know what it is to lose a friend in war. Fewer know what it is to lose a family member to war. 

I will never tell a person that it is wrong to thank our troops. 


But I can tell you that when you thank C on Memorial Day, he thinks of the soldiers he has buried. He thinks of the families he held. He thinks of the ones who didn't come back. He thinks about the children who are fatherless and motherless. The widows and widowers. But, above all, his mind and heart go to the ones who cannot be thanked. 

He doesn't think about his buddies who made it home. He thinks about the ones who didn't. 

I think about Nick's mom when she squeezed my hand at his memorial. 


On Tuesday I was driving to bring Eli to his ABA therapy about an hour from post. Along the interstate I noticed a large office building had put out hundreds and hundreds of full-size American flags. Perfectly lined up, a sea of red, white, and blue. It was a beautiful and humbling sight. A few seconds later I saw the large banner: 

Thank You, Veterans. 
Happy Memorial Day!

On Monday I saw the facebook posts "Remember to Thank a Vet!" "Grateful to those who fight for our freedom." "Proud to love a soldier." 

I am immensely grateful for every Veteran of this nation. More than I have words for. I am proud and blessed to love C. 

But when you thank him on the day when he remembers the ones who didn't come home ... when you thank me on the day my heart breaks for their families, for our friends, for their children ... 

I am not saying it is wrong. 

I'm not. 

But - for me - it does not feel right. 

Memorial Day is not Veterans' Day. 

They are not the same. 

Thank a veteran at any time - take a day to send cards, packages, encouragement at anytime. Remember the fallen every day.

Do not wait for the day that we remember the dead to think of the living. There isn't a day that the living do not carry the dead. 


  1. Spend that day thinking of gold star families...

  2. You make good points. Perhaps our commercialized world has something to do with the misunderstanding of the meaning of Memorial Day. Often it seems like the focus of some our holidays has been redirected in directions for the purpose of making a financial profit. I will make a point to remember that Veterans Day is the designated, but not the only, day to recognize and thank those who protect and have protected our freedom, as well as remember that Memorial Day is a time to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice to do so. Maybe, even though it does not feel right to the living to be thanked on Memorial Day, consider the thank you an embrace of sympathy for the loss of a brother, and accept the words of appreciation in honor of the memory of the dead as they live on through the service of the living.


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