So pour the beer for thirsty men
A drink that they have earned
And pour a beer for those who fell
For those who did not return
-Raise Your Horn-
All over the USA today families and friends gather around the grill, out at the lake, at the park, and in local restaurants to honor our soldiers. But, this holiday isn’t about our Veterans who we love and adore. This special day is about all the boys and girls who never came home. This is about the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces who spilled their blood on far away shores.
I do not belittle the use of this holiday to spend more time with family, or get a few projects done, or to get some extra rest. I imagine those soldiers who never made it back would be glad to see people enjoying the simple things they sacrificed. So, grill your burgers. Drink your beer. Sleep late. Mark one project off the list.
Just Don’t Forget.
Don’t Forget what this day is for. Allow a proper solemnity to cloud your day. Someone gave up a child, parent, sibling, or friend to protect us and our way of life, to aid others. Don’t forget the soldiers sacrifice.
I firmly believe that war movies are not made for soldiers, but for those of us who didn’t serve. We’re the ones who need to remember. We’re the ones who need to see and feel on some level what our soldiers experienced. If you aren’t facing this day with a hint of sober respect, maybe it’s time for you to sit down to something like Lone Survivor, or Fury. Maybe it’s time for you to remember.
Many of my family members–on both my side and my husband’s side of the family– served in our military. They all came home. I am not facing this holiday without my brother, without my father-in-law, without my grandpa. I know these men as old men, not as stories and a picture on the wall of a shockingly young man in a uniform. I get to text, tease, and see my brother. I’m so thankful for this blessing. It could have been different.
With this in mind, my heart goes out to all those who are facing this holiday without the same blessing. To the kids gazing at the picture on the wall of the man they never met, to the ones who hear stories instead of voices, we raise our glasses. We honor your loss. We thank you for bearing that in our stead.
Don’t think a Veteran today. This day isn’t for them, and they don’t want your thanks. They came home. This day is for the ones who didn’t.