A grateful good morning to you!
Did you wake up this morning in a warm bed or couch?
Was there hot water available to you? If you needed to, could you go out and buy milk within 10 minutes of your home?
Although a likely no-brainer for many of us, in the scheme of the entire world however, these are big deals.
Those of us who are fortunate to call America home, despite all the bullshit that goes on, this is the greatest place to call home.
To have such opportunities has taken guts, discipline, growth, failure, hard work, blood, sweat, tears, and of course, sacrifice.
If you talk to anyone who's served in combat, they know what the costs are of these opportunities. If you know someone who's child, parent, spouse, grandparent, best friend, high school buddy, ___________ who's not come home from combat, they too know the cost of these opportunities.
To have gratitude is a feeling received.
To be grateful is an action taken in response to the feeling.
To honor, is taking action and giving it to someone or something beyond the notion of acknowledgement.
I suppose it's the evolution of the times we live to give an entire month, every month, to celebrate something. However, our military servicemembers drew the short straw.
Do a quick search query on the Google and I'm sure you'll find a list of them. But if one were to look at what we know as the norm, our service members really only have two, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Those are not to over shadow the important days of remembrance such as our American Independence Day, Pearl Harbor, D-Day and 9/11, aka, Patriot Day.
The reality is that roughly 85% of these holidays required that a shit ton of people to die before we made something of it. Two of the six are celebrated with backyard bbq's and three of the six are reason to have a sale on a new vehicle or washer and dryer.
I have not served in combat, nor have I served at all. I can not begin to relate to the struggles many of our surviving servicemembers have had to endure. I can imagine, however, I have nothing to relate to.
Have you ever reached out to a grandmother, who's lost her husband of 50 years, on the anniversary of he late soulmate to say, you are in my thoughts today? Have you ever touched base with a friend who's lost their child, or parent, to share some love, to acknowledge that you are aware of the significance they are going through?
I am sure you can picture their faces in thanks to you.
That act makes them not feel so alone in a moment of complete isolation.
Walking through the grocery stores it's almost impossible to not cross paths with someone wearing a Veteran hat. When the timing is right, I will often approach them so as to not startle them, open my hand and shake theirs. To extend my gratefulness for their service, I will bring my other hand and place it over theirs's while shaking. This takes but a few seconds, however, looking at them in the eye, thanking them for their service, you can see in their face it means something to them. Not knowing the significance of their story, often times, I'm welcomed with the look of thanks that I get when I reach out to my friend who's lost her husband on their anniversary day.
Of all the days to not celebrate, it's instead to honor; and for me it is Memorial Day.
Rather than celebrate a patriotic day like Christmas time, flag up, flag down, there are a couple of us in our neighborhood who fly an American flag 365 days a year. Some even have a collection of tattered, well lived American flags that collect in a box ready for respectful recycling.
The fact that I can wake up in a warm bed, take a hot shower, realize that I'm out of milk and can jump in the car and easily go buy some, makes me feel good. While in the store I can see a real life melting pot of people. All of different creeds, races, beliefs, goals, and opinions, shopping amongst each other as equals. Understanding the reality of the world beyond the 50 states I call home, I am grateful to be here.
Unlike the gift of life that comes from just two people, I understand that it wasn't just one person who's created this country. It was millions of people who did. I also know that it took hundreds of thousands to give their life to this country, so that one day, somewhere in the future, me and my family, and millions of other families had the ability to wake up in a warm bed, take a hot shower, and go buy milk.
That shit makes my heart smile.
So the least I can do while in the store passing by a Veteran is reach out my hand and give thanks to someone who's helped make this possible.
It is my hope for the future that more people will keep their flags up year round and that someday, we can give our service members more that just a couple days of thanks as their commitment has provided us with countless years of opportunity.
This day is to you:
Chris Pike, RIP, Marc Lee, RIP, Rob Guzzo, RIP, Brian Mancini, RIP, and their mothers, Diana, Debbie, Robin, Jackie. Travis Blow, Jason Baldonado, John Williams, Matt Marks, Jason Piper, RIP, Sean Davis, Lloyd McCormick, Ryan McClain, and all the others.
Thank you for your service and the sacrifice of you and your brothers do not go forgotten.
Have a grateful weekend!
Honor them daily!