When I left the army in 1970, we were told not to wear our uniforms in public. The odds were that we would be jeered, attacked, spat upon or worse. Our country had lost respect for those that were fighting and dying for it. But times have changed.
The other day I shared a flight with a group of soldiers in uniform. When we landed the flight attendant asked that we wait while the soldiers left the plane. They did so to thunderous applause. What a difference a few decades make.
It is possible that we are showing more maturity that we did in the 60s, but reflecting the state of politics today, probably not. I think it may have to do with the fact that those in service today are volunteers. They signed up to go. They put themselves in harm’s way. They earned our respect and our thanks.
While you are flipping that burger or sipping that beer this weekend, take a moment and think about those that volunteered, and those who came home in body bags. Not only were their lives shattered, but those of their loved one’s too. They knew it was possible, but they went anyway.
Memorial Day isn’t’ just about remembering, but its also about showing thanks and respect. You would be surprised what a simple “Thank you for your service” means to someone who risked everything, and just possibly risked everything for you.
Happy Memorial Day.