I realize that this letter will come a little after the fact given the title is “Before You Flip The Burger,” but I guess it has taken me most of the day to plan out what I would write. That, and until children, husband and dog are either asleep or at work, there is no writing for me.
I guess it has taken me most of the day to really reflect on what this holiday is all about. Those of you that have read some of my posts know that I really try to put myself in the shoes of others to try and understand better where they may be coming from. This day was no different for me. I really wanted to think and be mindful of the reason that we are celebrating Memorial Day.
Over the past week, I have seen many pictures and posts on Facebook that have called for observance of the soldiers who have fought for our freedom. One of them that struck me was this one below.
It is so easy to forget that the lives we are able to live today, were at the cost of so many lives. Our freedom really has come at a great cost and for that we should be forever thankful.
Memorial day has been a nationally observed holiday since the late eighteen hundreds and originally began as decoration day. It was a day to decorate the graves of those who had died in the pursuit of protecting our country. To this day the holiday is still celebrated but I wonder if the point has been lost to many of us.
When you ask most about their plans for Memorial Day, they will tell you of hot dogs and hamburgers, parades and picnics, good times and noodle salad. What most don’t mention is the why we are even celebrating this day.
It is very easy to forget the reason if it doesn’t touch you directly. I haven’t lost a parent or grandparent, and uncle or friend in any wars or military duty. I know plenty of people that have served, but I haven’t suffered that loss directly. I am grateful for that. There are so many families that will not celebrate this holiday but instead pay respect on this holiday because they have lost someone.
Regardless if we suffered a loss or not, I think that respect is deserved from each of us. I know that I can’t pick up a gun tomorrow and fight for our country. I am not wired for it. If there were a law that went into place tomorrow that said that I had to, well…. I’m sorry but the rest of the country would suffer because I wouldn’t make it very far. It’s just not me. If they wanted me to cook dinner for the troops and possibly do some laundry, now that’s speaking my language, but guns and fighting is just foreign.
I am not even sure if I could be a mom of a soldier. I just don’t know if I am wired for that. I can’t imagine spending Christmas without my son because he is off in a desert fighting terrible people that would kill him in a second. That is just not something that I am sure that I could deal with. I would worry and cry endlessly and if Brian was able to put up with the basket case that it would make me, it would be a blessing.
All of that said, there are brave people that do this every day. They have decided that they are willing and able to fight for the country that they call home and they are willing to lay down their lives to keep it safe. These men and women are heroes.
Their mind must say that fear is not an option and they stand proud and strong for the benefit of all of us who are not able to. I am amazed by these men and women and thankful that they are as strong as they are.
As I spent the day thinking about what it would be like to be one of these brave people who give everything they have, including their lives, I also thought about what it would be like to be their family. I am not sure what I would do if some day Jacob said to me that he was going into the military. I know for sure that I would be proud that I had raised a boy to be so selfless that he would be willing to make such a sacrifice, but I think other than pride all that I would feel is fear.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a parent of a soldier, today especially. This world is a mess! There is danger in every corner and I can’t even begin to think of how these families go on day by day knowing that they have a loved one in the line of fire. Every day must be difficult as there is an unknown. “When will they come home?, Will they be alright?, Will they be hurt?, Will they ever return?” These questions would never end for me.
So I guess all of this brings me to the title, before you flip the burger, maybe we should consider why we are able to. There are many countries that would consider the very right to have a barbecue and grill a few meat products to be luxurious. They don’t have the rights that we do and they don’t have the men and women to fight for them like we do.
I realize that all of us have probably already flipped the burger, but it is not too late to recognize the men and women that are gone as a sacrifice to us. This day is not about cookouts and how much candy we can collect at a parade. It has nothing to do with potato salad and hot dogs. It isn’t about an extra day off in the week and it has nothing to do with the pools opening for the summer.
It is everything to do with people that are dead. Brave people that have fought and died so that I don’t have to. This day is about all of those men and women, past and present that give everything because I can’t or won’t. It is about their families that suffer the loss as well. It is all about these heroes and nothing about a burger.
P.S. I hope that you all had a happy and safe Memorial Day and if you hadn’t thought about how important this holiday is, I hope that you think differently now. I am thankful for each and every person that fights for our country and I would love to see your comments with thanks to the troops that you may know.