Memorial Day: the season of wedding anniversaries, graduations, and also of remembering. Memorial Day has always been the unofficial start of summer. It is the time when pools open and we can find relief from the stifling heat. It is a day for gathering with family and friends and enjoying some good food and time away from the ordinary everyday. Memorial Day has always been all of these things to me, until a terrorist’s well-aimed bullet took my husband’s life in Iraq.
Commercials fly American flags and show troops in uniforms and now, tears come to my eyes. I am proud and sad and honored all in the same moment. I see memories in my mind like one would see bits and pieces of a movie, only it’s my life: the two uniformed officers at my front door, the picture in the newspaper of me beside a coffin, the folded flag between two white gloves. Today, I see flags waving against the blue of the skies and the white of the clouds and my heart swells.
In the space of a breath, my husband gave up his life defending our freedom, our way of life. He and so many others have given their lives in service to this great nation for people they had never met. They believed in something greater than self, and they died defending those beliefs.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13
Now, Memorial Day means remembering great sacrifices of this generation, but also of generations past. It means being thankful for life and love, even in the face of loss. It means celebrating the freedoms I live with, but knowing full-well what it takes to perpetuate that freedom. It means honoring the brotherhood my husband left behind, and recognizing that while I lost my husband, each Marine he served with lost multiple friends.
This Memorial Day, while you are enjoying a day off from work or finding the perfect bargain you’ve been waiting for, don’t forget. Don’t forget that there are families who are gathering with grief in their hearts as they remember a loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice. Don’t forget that the liberties you enjoy did not come easily. Remember that every single day, people you will never meet are fighting on your behalf.
And if you know someone who has lost a loved one in the military, don’t forget to say their name. This simple act of remembrance means more to us than you could possibly imagine.
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In loving memory of LCpl. Christopher P. Lyons, KIA 2005-07-28, Cykla, Iraq
Love Jesus. Love each other. Love your city.
Harvest, go be the Church!
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