I’m travelling across the American Redoubt this weekend and am writing this on the road. Memorial Day weekend is is a holiday we’ve come to associate with “Happiness,” like barbecues, camping trips, and vacations to the coast (or whatever your family tradition is), but please keep in mind the real reason we celebrate.
I started today by labeling the post, “Happy Memorial Day”, then changed it, reminding myself that it’s not about our happiness at all. It’s a somber reminder of sacrifice.
Right now, as you are reading this, American men and women are on patrols and in convoys with their hearts in their throats, wondering when the next IED will go off. And one will go off before the week is over, and the next week, and the next week and so on. Please enjoy the weekend with friends and family and enjoy your freedom and your remaining liberties. But also, don’t forget the price that has been paid over the last 235+ years in order for you to have those things.
Last week I was part of an event which included the flag and the national anthem. Afterward, I was “volunteered” to take care of the flag. No problem. I took the flag to an office and began folding it, and like so many times before, I just stopped and choked up and marveled at the silky material in my hand. I began weeping. What is it about that flag? I’m moved by what a blessing it represents and the sacrifices that were made for it to be possible. What a magnificent thing we’ve been given by God — this nation. I pray I never cease to be moved anytime I fold the flag, and that I never take for granted what it symbolizes and what an honor it is to be called a citizen under its colors. That is more than happiness. It is joy!
— Author Unknown
(Written on a cell wall at the Hanoi Hilton, Viet Nam)
Not to be confused with Veterans Day, where we remember all those who have served, I wanted to take the time here to say that I’m proud to have served, and a huge thank you to all of you, my heroes, who served as well.
In memory of the fallen, have a joyful Memorial Day.
On the road in Cheyenne, Wyoming
John Jacob Schmidt