Who Do We Honor this Memorial Day?

Who do we honor this Memorial Day?Who do we honor this Memorial Day?

Before we leave for Memorial Day weekend, I thought it might be helpful to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial Day is about the men and women who gave their lives for our country. It’s a reminder that freedom is never free. Every day men and women around the world put their lives on the line for our freedom.

I’ve known many men and women who have fought for our country around the world. Thankfully, only a small number of them have paid the ultimate price.  Those individuals I’ve known have never thought of themselves as heroes. I cannot find braver men and women anywhere.

But spend time around them and you soon discover that there is something about them that transcends their individual personality and blends into something much larger than you and me.  They are willing to put their lives on the line to build a better world for their family, friends, and the world at large. If you travel the world, there are few places you can go where you don’t find a cemetery that has American men and women military who paid for our freedom with their lives. They invested their blood in a faith they could not see, but believed in just the same.

How do we repay them for their courage? The original idea for Memorial Day was to honor our dead. What of the families they leave behind? The birthdays and sporting events they will never attend. The anniversaries and children they will never see. The promise of so many men and women never achieved.  Very few families here are untouched by the death of a family member in the military. Over the generations, many families have been impacted by loved ones serving in the military that never came home.

I was named for a man in the military who didn’t return. His death impacted my father so deeply he chose to name me after this friend who saved his life in Korea.  The man died shortly after, not knowing that he saved my father’s life.  My father wasn’t sure how to honor his memory, so he chose to share their common values of serving others with me. I try to pass their leadership lessons and values on here at Developing Serving Leaders.

My father didn’t talk much about his feelings about serving. As I got to meet his friends who served, I learned the meaning of fellowship and honor. They taught me the meaning of brotherhood and love. These lessons learned I’ve carried throughout my life. I’ve worked with many fine men and women in my career. None have provided me the inspiration that this group has provided. They know what’s important in life, and they are willing to sacrifice it all for others.

So, as we go about the activities of Memorial Day weekend, stop to think about the men and women who chose to serve your friends, family, community, and world without knowing you. They were willing to give their lives so you and our world could remain free.

Take time this weekend to honor their memories. Maybe share a story with future generations about a man or woman who didn’t return home, but through their sacrifice kept future generations free. Take time to honor those families who lost a loved one. Reach out and thank them for the freedom you now enjoy. God bless these men and women and the country and greater purpose they served with honor and distinction. This Memorial Day, God bless them and the United States of America.

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