So today is Memorial Day. Does that just mean a day off work for you? A day to be with family or friends? A day for parades and picnics?
It's so easy to forget the real reason for some of our calendar holidays, isn't it? Unless you personally know someone who is serving or has served in the country's military, it's perhaps easy enough to forget that this is a day to remember—remember those who served and who died protecting us. It originally was known as Decoration Day and began after the Civil War to remember both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war. Now it's a day to honor all who died while in military service anytime and anywhere.
It's a good time to stop and reflect on what that means, particularly to those families who have sustained such losses. I personally also like to think about those who serve in the military—and who have lived through wars but who are forever and irrevocably changed by that experience. Huge numbers return home but are never the same. More of them than we know carry deep scars and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This has always been true; it's just that we didn't have a name for it until recent years. Even now, it's difficult for many who serve to admit to PTSD because it's perceived as weakness. But truly, who wouldn't be affected by experiencing things no human should have to face?
So, do take some time today to think about those who have died serving our country—and those who yet live but with scars, some that are visible but many that are not. When possible, take the time to thank those you know, too. Gratitude surely is an appropriate response.
How might we best honor them all? What do you do?