This is a day on which we are to remember our heroes, but a lot of the remembering sort of gets lost in all the hot dogs, hamburgers, cold beer, and pop most of us will be consuming. Don't get me wrong - that's all great stuff - but the reality, I believe, is that picnics, parades, and parties push away, and some time even negate, what this day is meant to stand for.
This post today is not meant to be a "downer" post. It is meant instead to raise our awareness of what these brave soldiers sacrificed to preserve our freedom especially on this Memorial Day. It's meant to have their lives, touch our hearts today and challenge us to connect with a few of these young men and women on a personal level.
LaDawn and I were flying home last Friday from San Diego and, as usual, I was reading the Friday edition of USA Today. The story that caught my eye told about a mother, Carla Sizer, who visited Legacy.com's "In Remembrance" site everyday to read about her 19 year old son, Spc. Dane Balcon, killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. He has his own memorial page with a musical tribute, 176 photos and a "guest book" with almost 1,200 messages posted by relatives, friends, neighbors, schoolmates, comrades and total strangers [link].
On Saturday morning I headed over to Legacy.com and visited the "Moving Tributes" page [link] to see what this site was about. As I watched the "Moving Tributes" to many of the soldiers honored, I was taken back by my feelings that I felt welling up within me - "Look how young these kids were. That soldier had two little kids at home that now won't see their daddy. Look at the optimistic, smiling faces of these brave men and women that gave their lives for our freedom."
Each tribute brought me closer to the sadness, loss, and love the families and friends of our fallen heroes must feel. The site gave me a very real appreciation of what today is suppose to represent to America - a day of remembering our fallen heroes. Please take a few minutes today - visit and connect with a few of the families who will be celebrating/remembering this day in a much different way than most of us as we will be enjoying our families and friends today.
Today is the day we honor these brave men and women in our hearts and souls. Let's do just that purposefully for just a few minutes today - we can get to the burgers and dogs later.