All Gave Some, Some Gave All

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A parade is happening in town today. Veterans will march, bands will play, and lots of other fanfare will take place.

My daughter's eyes danced at the mere mention of a parade. And while I'm happy that a local parade is able to emit effortless enthusiasm, it's doesn't escape me that our freedom to enjoy simple pleasures is rooted in the sacrifice of brave men and women who made it possible.

Both of my grandfathers served in the armed forces. At their funerals, the taps were played and the flag folded. Both times I watched that final display of gratitude from their brothers and sisters in service in awe and admiration. But it also didn't escape me that this honor came at the end of long lives filled with rich experiences. I know this has not been or is the case for many. In high school, I visited the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. with my parents. I saw my dad locate the names of his high school classmates who lost their lives. I remember the silence of everyone there and the soul-stirring realization that many of the names on the wall were close to my age at the time of their death. This epiphany was transformative in my understanding of Memorial Day.

This three day weekend has become an unofficial kick-off to summer. It's synonymous with backyard barbeques and poolside opening celebrations. But regardless of where you are, what you're doing, or who you're with, stop to savor your freedom.

Our daily grind, our non-stop agendas, and the noise of life keeps us overly occupied. But, we should never forget to remember the brave souls who gave their lives so that we have the freedom to fill our lives accordingly.

I'm sure my little loves will be decked out in their red, white, and blue apparel today, and I know for certain we're hosting friends in the afternoon. But between the pomp and circumstance, the hamburgers and hotdogs, and the general joyfulness that is a day off for more family fun, there's a serious and sincere sense of gratitude for the men and women who served our country.

Here's to the heroes who gave their lives in pursuit of or to protect freedom.  "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." — John F. Kennedy