Family Security Matters: Exclusive: The Meaning of Memorial Day
by COL. JEFF BEAROR, (USMC, RET.)
Let’s be clear, this Memorial Day will be very difficult for thousands of families, friends, and military teammates of those American warriors who have died during the last year. Many of these heroes leave behind very young families and all have grieving mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and others. This will the first Memorial Day since their loved one’s death and it will no doubt be a very difficult day.
With the pain, though, there will be pride and a sense that the sacrifice was not in vain. For these families know better than any of us the sense of accomplishment, selflessness, and willingness to place the safety of the nation, and of their teammates, above their own that was in the hearts of the fallen. Families will read and re-read letters and emails. They’ll recall phone calls and look at video clips. The sense of loss will be great. But also great will be the realization that our country produces young men and women of stout heart and valiant character who volunteered to carry freedom’s flag. What a legacy they leave!
Memorial Day for me has always been a day both to celebrate and remember: celebration that our country produces people willing to fight and die for something they believe in but can’t touch and remembrance that freedom has a very real cost that must be paid over and over again. As I stop to celebrate another Memorial Day, particularly one when we find ourselves again at war, I think about all those ordinary but extraordinary Americans around the world in harm’s way.
I was lucky to serve my country for more than 30 years in uniform. I am amazed at the quality and spirit of the young people who volunteer today to serve our country, even in time of conflict. They are young (the average age of a Marine recruit is about 19.5 years) and come from all over our country and from almost every country around the world. New immigrants and first-generation Americans volunteer in increasing numbers because they understand exactly what America offers the world. These are smart, capable, dedicated kids – mature beyond their years and totally dedicated to each other and their teams…….Read More
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