A Time to Reflect on Memorial Day
Remembering those who gave all.
June 15, 2017
Once again red, white, and blue will hang from light poles and businesses in the communities will cater to those who wear a service uniform. Many restaurants have free meals for veterans, military I.D. will grant free admission to museums and state parks.
While Memorial Day recognition may seem appropriate to show honor to those no longer here, this is not a day off from work for everyone.
For veterans, every day is a Memorial Day. They remember comrades who did not come home, or those that who came home as shadows of who they used to be.
The demons inside will not let them leave the battlefield. They constantly ask why did they get to come home instead of their fallen friends and comrades. The battles fought have left deeper scars than the ones seen on the outside.
They can list without hesitation the names etched in blood across the memories they have of their deployment. They go to the cemeteries, stand in front of the memorials and barely keep from falling apart.
It is almost an insult that the sacrifice that they made is acknowledged so infrequently. How many times has social media shared pictures of homeless vets who fell victim to nature’s harsh elements, yet the public outcry is mostly silent?
If a service member falls in combat, full honors are given. A service is held, and family and friends come to pay their respects.
Let that service member come home, injured inside and out, and it is a different story. According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Health poll, “One in two veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan wars say they know a fellow service member who attempted or committed suicide.”
Perhaps the best way to honor the memories of those who served is to just sit quietly, be a voice of calm amid the raging pain. “Life goes on” does not always bring healing.
Saying “thank you for your service” is not enough. Those that have come home made a vow to serve and give their lives if needed. They watched others live up to that vow and have a deep sense of a debt that must be paid but never can. There is no celebrating for them.