Today as most Americans spend this holiday with their families, a few will place flags outside to gently blow in the wind. A few others will reflect back on a family member or friend who honorably served our nation in the Armed Forces. It is my hope that all of you will take the time to remember the patriots who have bled and died for the freedoms of so many people around the globe and that you’ll spend just a moment in thought or prayer for the families of our fallen who spend this Memorial Day with full personal knowledge about what the cost of freedom really is.
This weekend as we prepared to gather with our friends and families to have a BBQ or a pool party, a very special person came home from war. SFC Clifford Beattie, a U.S. Soldier, a proud father of two beautiful kids, a loving husband and son, and true leader, mentor, and friend returned home after many months of service in Iraq.
On Saturday his plane landed on U.S. soil and he received a “Hero’s Welcome” when an escort party marched out to receive his flag-draped casket on the tarmac at Dover Air Force Base. Sadly, my friend wasn’t coming home to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. SFC Beattie was tragically killed by an IED blast just days before he could call to congratulate his daughter on her accomplishments, and this Memorial Day weekend his family is preparing all of the arrangements to lay their Hero to rest.
For his family and for all of us who knew and served with SFC Beattie, this Memorial Day is a somber one. Yet, I know that SFC Beattie spent his final morning participating in a Fun Run to honor and remember fallen and wounded Soldiers. He knew that keeping the memory of our heroes alive took much more than one day a year- much more than just a flag flying outside his home on Memorial Day.
Monday Morning Perspective:
“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” – Adlai E. Stevenson
On this Memorial Day, and the remaining 364 days of the year, I encourage you to support the service members of our Armed Forces, their families that serve and sacrifice alongside them, and the families that have lost a loved one in service to something greater than themselves.
Support can take many forms: A simple thank you; the donation of time or funds to a non-profit whose mission supports the military community; or offering to assist and mentor a transitioning veteran as they seek to step back into the ranks of the civilian world. These things all take time and energy. What I’d ask is that when you feel that there just isn’t enough time in your schedule to add a day (or more) to support the men and women who protect our nation, I hope that you will quietly reflect on those who have sacrificed their future so that you can have yours. It’s usually just a matter of perspective.
Enjoy this Memorial Day- but never forget why it exists.
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2011. All rights reserved.