It's Memorial Day. When the boys were growing up, on this day they would go with their father, a Navy submarine veteran, and my father, an Army Air Corps WW II veteran, to a memorial service at the local VFW. Sometimes, they would drive to the Rock Island Arsenal, where there is a large national cemetery. The Arsenal would have impressive programs, with inspirational speakers and 21-gun salutes.
Memorial Day is also the official KICK-OFF weekend of the summer. It means the end of the school year -- and the beginning of sunshine, vacations and BBQ's. It's pretty easy to get involved in picnics, baseball games and a 30% off sale at the local mall....and maybe the purpose of Memorial Day gets lost in the shuffle.
But I'm going to spend some time today thinking about the young men and women who are willing to serve in the military to protect this country...both past and present. Every year, I watch the Memorial Day Concert on PBS and I cry for the families who lost loved ones. My heart breaks for the young widows and the soldiers who came home, maimed and disfigured. Because of their sacrifice -- America is the greatest, most compassionate country in the world -- and we enjoy opportunity and freedom that most people only dream about.
We should never take any of that for granted...and I am grateful...