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In our home, I wouldn’t say that we celebrate Memorial Day so much as we observe it.
No special fanfare. No massive barbecues or hours spent poolside welcoming the official start of summer. For me, it is a pretty somber day. I am honoring my fallen brothers. Each year, my family sets out flags in our church cemetery to honor the veterans buried there.
It always makes me take pause to truly assess what this day means for me. It makes me think of honor and respect, love and sacrifice. Mostly, though, it makes me think of brotherhood and of my brothers, both those still living and those who have passed on.
There is a bond formed between men who have shared combat. That bond further extends to those others who have seen combat and who know it’s dirty secrets. That bond can only be described as a brotherhood. These are men for whom I would have gladly given my life and who would have gladly given theirs for me.
This bond is largely unspoken. We know. That is enough.
Memorial Day is about honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and for our freedoms. Specifically, we set aside this day to honor those who we lost during combat, but I wonder how many have returned home that are just as lost. Did the same person return home? Will they ever be the same? Can they ever be made whole?
When a brother falls in combat, each one of us feels it differently, but each of us can find closure and rejoice in the knowledge that we will find them again on the other side. When a brother comes home stricken with traumatic physical and mental injuries, it feels as though we mourn the living.
How do you observe Memorial Day? Do you or does someone you know share this bond? Leave me a comment and share your story.