Unlike most nations, our armed services are entirely volunteer. That’s amazing when you stop to think about it. These citizens volunteer to make a small wage. They volunteer their families to make sacrifices. In some cases, they also volunteer their very lives.
Every year I watch the National Memorial Day Concert and I cry. I cry hearing the stories of the soldiers who served and died. And I cry even more when I hear the stories of those who served and returned a mere fraction of the man who initially deployed.
I’m left with a tremendous feeling of guilt and sadness. So many have sacrificed so much. What have I sacrificed? My brother has been to war more times than I can count. He’s sacrificed a great deal. His family certainly has as well. And then there’s me. I have sacrificed nothing. Not.one.damn.thing!
Sometimes the best way to deal with feelings is to let yourself feel them. Sometimes there’s no busy work or charity work that can distract your brain from these feelings. I find it cathartic to embrace this sadness from time to time.
Periodically, I like to visit the website Faces of the Fallen. It lists every death from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spend some time here. You might find the name of someone you know. Maybe someone from your town or someone with your same name. It’s easy to find a connection.
So after the barbeque and before you check out the giant mattress blowout – please take some time to remember the real reason you don’t have to work today.