What To Do On Memorial Day…

Categories: Military, Stories
Memorial Day

What to do on Memorial Day…It’s been more than ten years since I first experienced the death of a brother in arms. September 15th, 2005. We were eating breakfast together. A few other Marines and I hadn’t quite finished our meal when Shane asked if we were coming with him and another Marine back to our tent. We told him no and went about eating and joking…it couldn’t have been more than a minute since they’d left when an explosion rocked the chow hall. A Marine ran in screaming “Corpsman up,” but it was already too late. There was nothing that could be done. We wouldn’t know it was Shane till we got back to our tent.

Every year…I try to enjoy Memorial Day, not because it’s a day off, but because I know that each day I have on this earth is precious. Shane taught me that. As did Luke, and Andrew and the countless others who’ve given what Abraham Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion to their country.

Back in our tent, our platoon commander gathered us up informed us that Shane had been killed. It was a moment I’d never forget, but also a moment that was brief, because as sad as we were, we still had a job to do. So we stuffed those feelings deep down. A man I’d just been talking to was no longer here. And I had to ignore it for the time being. We’d been in the country for maybe 10 days. We hadn’t even left the gates and gone into the city and my mentor was gone.

I don’t want to preach about how Memorial Day is about the fallen, those who signed their names but didn’t come home…we should all get that by now, plenty of people say that each year. What it is about and what it means…I can make that distinction. So can many of you. You don’t need my help with that.

See what it’s about is men like Shane who gave their lives…what it means is that I, like the rest of us who are living, have been given a gift.

Time.

The rest of our lives. The time we get to spend with our families, friends, and loved ones.

And so, when you do whatever celebration you do, whether your honor in solemn silence or your barbeque with friends, take one moment to realize who the day is about and a moment to appreciate the gift that we’ve been given. Time…the only thing we can’t buy more of.

We’ve been given time to do all the miraculous and wonderful things that life has in store for us. You want to honor the fallen? Make the most of your time here. Love your family, your friends, reach your potential. Honor them with the way you live your life, victoriously.

 

Know what we're sayin fam?

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