Hoping most of you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. As my family and I celebrated with some good friends in our backyard, I was again reminded of how bittersweet this special holiday can be for some. Many of us, myself included, had come to view the occasion as a time to celebrate and remember all our veterans. In fact, it is the day we specifically remember those who have fallen in battle.
This year was the third time my sister Chelsea and I got up early to run in the Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon, 10K/5K race. As we pulled into the parking lot to start the race, Chelsea described the thousands assembled in red, white, and blue with a variety of dress to pay tribute to those who had fallen. Something new on the run course this year were banners with names of fallen soldiers and their ages, as young as 19 years old. As Chelsea called the names out as we ran, I couldn’t help but be greatly moved by the incredible sacrifice each one had made with their lives. Even more, I couldn’t fail to think of their families who no doubt remember that day with a greater, more personal sorrow.
My 93-year-old grandfather, a veteran of WWII, has recently related some gruesome tales of fellow soldiers dying right in front of him as well (for years he never talked about the war). The old saying “War is Hell” rings so true, but the ultimate sacrifices of these brave men and women have allowed us to enjoy the freedoms we have today in this great country.
As a kid, my family had a tradition of spending this holiday having fun and relaxing with friends in Palm Desert California. We usually rented a place close to a pool and enjoyed the time together, while also remembering the reason for this holiday. It was such a blessing, and those memories are what I think of when Memorial Day rolls around each year. While we don’t go to Palm Desert anymore, we now are making new memories and remembering with more clarity why we have this holiday.
My friends, whether or not it is Memorial weekend, I hope you have times of celebrating good memories. If you are short on those, I encourage you to begin making new ones with those family members and friends that mean the most to you. Love is the only thing that lasts forever, and it is in nourishing and celebrating our key relationships that our lives find their true meaning. Remember with hope and belief that the best is yet to come!