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A Memorial Day Letter

Updated on May 31, 2010

On this Memorial Day, I wanted to take time to personally thank all of the millions of brave men and women, who, since the beginning of this country's history, have fought to defend the way of life that we so easily take for granted.

Dear Veterans and Soldiers,

As I stop to think about another Memorial Day, I realize that sometimes the hype of the day drowns out the true purpose that it has. It's hard to remember the men and women who have fought for us when we are lying on a beach, beginning our summer vacation. But the truth is that you get no vacation. You live under fire constantly; you have no breaks or time outs; no place to go to escape the gun fire and the suffering. But rest assured, you have our support. While I can never, ever even begin to fathom the experience of being in a foreign country, fighting for a cause that people just simply expect, I can only think to thank you.

Thank you for answering the call to service and fighting to defend the people of the United States. Thank you for persevering when almost half of the country is against your cause. Thank you for continuing your duty, even when the vile and evil hatred of protesters threaten to disrupt the funerals of your brothers. Thank you for standing up in a sea of millions and saying "I will do it; I will fight for you." Thank you for putting yourself in harms way every day of the year in order that we may continue our lives back home and only think of you on one of those days. Thank you, soldier, for making it possible to hold my child, an innocent life, yet a free one, and tell him that he will die a free man because of the service of millions he will never know. Thank you. Thank you for everything.

To the Veterans of wars past, and the soon-to-be Veterans of wars present, I owe you more than my life. I owe you my well-being, my family, my home, and every aspect of a free society. I would say that you could never grasp the depth of my gratitude, but then you could say I would never grasp the depth of your service. And this is true. It is beyond comprehension.

I also want to apologize for the actions of those I do not know, and the millions who use the right you fight to protect to work against you. It is sad that you fight for freedom, and some use this freedom to bestow hate against the soldiers themselves. Those who are ignorant will never learn that a soldier merely acts as he or she is told. They do not work politically, or fight selectively for a certain party. But there are always those who believe the best way to protest an administration is to direct their anger towards the executors of that administration - the soldiers. I beg you, please do not collapse under the fire of these vocal weapons. Please ignore them, for they will never understand your sacrifice until they lose freedom themselves.

So on this Memorial Day, I want to humbly thank you. I want to remind you that, while we may truly only think of it a few days a year, your service is appreciated and honored. Thank you.


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    • katyzzz profile image


      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This was a very touching memorial and all should be as aware as you are, well done, and what more can I say, but hear, hear!

    • xnotion profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      s small, that was a great comment. I agree with what you are saying, and I think the people in uniform deserve the utmost respect.

    • profile image

      s small 

      8 years ago

      So this all started the other day when Memorial Day was just a few days ahead and I was telling my wife that I wanted to take my two boys to a memorial site in observance of Memorial Day. My wife looked at me kinda puzzled but was totally behind my idea. I tried in my half ass attempt to explain to her that I wanted the boys to honor veterans on this day and to understand what Memorial Day was about.

      The more and more I thought of how I was going to attempt to get my boys to understand this day, I started to become upset. After about two hours of intense thinking, I realized I was actually mad at the fact that my youngest son didn’t even know what Memorial Day was about. I got mad at people who haven’t served and started to blame them for not really knowing what it was like in the day and the life of a vet. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how long I have actually carried this resentment towards others and how oblivious I was to what this day meant.

      I started to think about all the times I was at a ball game or one of my kids high school functions and seeing kids and their parents sitting on their ass while our nations anthem played.

      The time I moved out of state and left my dress blues in my mother’s closet, just to find out my family threw it in the trash cause I left it behind.

      I think of all the Memorial Day sales events and commercials on TV getting you an extra 50 % off your new mattress purchase.

      I remember the drunk guy in the bar sitting on his barstool raising his glass, chugging down his whiskey saying “This one’s for our boys overseas.”

      I remember getting a care package from my family while in Somalia. My mom sent me a stuff to include a carton of cigarettes. I notice the side of the carton opened and a pack of cigs missing. On the side of the carton I saw my brother’s handwriting that said “Thanks for the smokes bro”

      Seeing all of the PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN signs pasted in the windows of peoples Honda civics and Toyota 4 runners.

      Seeing the news video and headlines attempting to disgrace marines who applauded and clapped as a bomb was dropped on an insurgent bunker that just seconds before were firing upon the Marine convoy.

      And the list can go on and on. Then it just came to me. I realized what this day was about for the first time in my life.

      I remember when my youngest once asked me what the difference was between Honor and Valor. I told him that I didn’t know what the Webster’s definition was and then I told him what I thought were the definitions of Honor and Valor.

      I told him that having Valor and having Honor is an ability that not everyone can possess.

      Valor is when someone has the strength to stand up when nobody else will. To fight for others who can’t fight for themselves and to speak for those without a voice.

      Honor is something that is possessed by the person who didn’t have the strength to stand, fight or speak for themselves. You possess Honor because you came to realize that someone else took your place, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Honor is something you bestow to someone who took your place and you recognizing that fact.

      If you don’t stand during our anthem or when you see an American Flag, I’ll stand for you.

      You will understand the significance of a uniform only until you actually wear one. If you throw it away, spit on it, disrespect it, Its ok, because the man makes the uniform—not the other way around.

      When you buy your new mattress at the Memorial Day sale, sleep well and dream sweet dreams, just know that there’s a marine out there sleeping in the sand and sleeping just as well and dreaming sweet dreams because you are safe.

      The next time I’m at the bar and I hear someone making a toast to our boys overseas, let me buy the first shot. I just ask that you remember those who came back from overseas with an American Flag draped over them. And also don’t forget to toast the brothers, sisters, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas around the world who don’t get to hear the voices of their loved ones ever again.

      Then next time I see a Proud to be and American sign in a car window, I will remember that it is because of vets that my children will have the options in life such as where they want to live and what car they will want to drive, foreign or domestic, green or blue, uptown or downtown.

      When you hear or read the headlines regarding our troops, before you say anything, remember that they are there and you’re not. It’s nice to have an opinion on something you put no work into and it’s easy when you’re on the sidelines looking at the game rather than playing in it. Oh, and by the way, be proud that you have a fighting force that claps and cheers in the moment of sheer terror—that face their enemy and fight hand to hand rather than run into the mountains and fight with booby traps and cell phones.

      This Memorial Day I have no resentment for anyone. Only vets can understand, in their own unique ways, what Memorial Day is truly about. The only thing I can do is to Honor those who have given their lives and service for my family and I. Although I am a vet, this day isn’t for me. It’s for those still out there doing what I did years ago. It’s for those who have given their lives for mine and those serving so my kids can go on living oblivious to the harm out there in the world.

      So the next time you get a care package and there’s a pack of smokes missing from the carton, don’t get mad that they just could have drove around the corner to get a pack themselves, remember that we made the decision to fight and serve for a purpose greater than ourselves. The very people I was starting to resent were the very people I served and fought for.

      “And bro, your very welcome for the smokes. . . . . . “


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