Once again we are at the Memorial Day week-end, Memorial Day is the holiday that launches us into the summer season when we begin cook-outs and family activities that have become traditions. But more importantly, Memorial Day is a day of remembrance.
The cost of freedom
We remember those who have lost their lives in service to their country. We think of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have died while in the military. We celebrate their legacies, bravery and courage. Of course, for the most part, they were simply doing the job they had been asked to do for the causes associated with the time of war in which they served. But because of their service, we live in freedom—a freedom that has cost lives.
I am sure we know someone within our community or family who has paid the ultimate price. Still there are those today who risk their lives as military personnel assigned to Afghanistan or other parts of the world. It is indeed tragic to witness those moments of loss and grief when families are informed that a loved one’s life has been lost.
Repercussions to families who face loss
If those who have left us could speak, they would probably say they were doing their duty. However, I am sure they would have concerns for their families left behind. For children, spouses, parents or significant others, we know that this kind of loss has huge repercussions. A loss this significant leaves deficits for many individuals, and certainly impacts a family’s future.
On this weekend when we stop to remember, I urge you to consider those thousands of children and family members who have experienced such loss. While this is a day of remembrance and pride, it is also one of trauma as they experience the impact and grieve the loss of their loved ones. The impact is ongoing: financial issues, unresolved relational issues, consequences of abandonment, and fear of the future. In the wake of the loss of those closest to them, families may quietly face considerable burdens.
Caring for those who our veterans cared most about
So, as we remember our lost veterans, I do hope you will also remember their families and a way to care for them. Our systems of care in the USA are significantly underfunded and continue to suffer the chopping block. As these families confront the need for vital services, what will they encounter? What will be there for them? We as a community can be there to rise up and care.
Caring could be as simple as sending a card of remembrance, donating some groceries, helping with tough decisions or offering a compassionate listening ear. This kind of caring, I think, appropriately honors our lost military personnel and provides for those for whom they most cared.
I hope you have a great Memorial Day holiday. I trust you will enjoy your family time. In our busy lives, we can always use more meaningful family time. Our children thrive in those moments with us just as we need time with them.
Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading my blog.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network