On this May 31st, we in the United States of America celebrate Memorial Day. It is odd people say we celebrate the holiday, based on what Memorial Day is all about. As a kid I would always get Memorial Day and Veterans Day confused. Veterans Day a chance to say thank you to anyone who served our country, and Memorial Day to pay respect to those who laid their life down for the country.
I never was able to distinguish the two as a youngster.
Nonetheless, as these holidays essentially become just another three day weekend here in the USA, this Memorial Day hits this BTSC editor a little different.
No, no one in my family has died while serving this country, and I’m thankful for that, but there has definitely been a shift in my thinking when it pertains to holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
The reason being is my 18 year old nephew just go out of boot camp for the United States Marine Corps. He enlisted right out of High School, and the thought of him being deployed overseas is both extremely real, and also extremely unsettling.
Like many families, the military runs deep in my family. My grandfather was in the United States Army, and was in the infantry during the Korean War. He was wounded, recovered for two months before being sent back to the front lines. Fortunately for my blood line, he, and his entire platoon, were relieved of their post only days before the hill he had occupied was overcome by an enemy barrage, leaving many men, and their families, with a very different story to tell.
On this Memorial Day I take time to pause to think about those who are serving in our military. The branch doesn’t matter, the service and sacrifice matters. Yes, I realize Memorial Day is to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, but I also pray those who are currently serving are able to return home safely, and not become just another footnote in the many conflicts our country has been a part of in our rich, and sordid, history.
To this day, one of my favorite places to visit with our family for the many hiking trails is Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD. It is only a 20 minute drive from where we live, and every time we walk through those fields you can’t help but think about the death which once occurred there. The lives lost. All for a cause. The root of that cause isn’t the point here, the sacrifice is, and on this day we remember.
Pittsburgh Steelers fans are a family, regardless of where you call home, and I hope we can all appreciate anyone, in any country, who decides to put their own personal cause on hiatus to serve in their respective military.
We remember those who lost their lives, and pay respect.