Yes, it's the real first day of summer (calendar be damned), and yes, we'll probably have a cookout and I'll drink a few beers....But that's not what we'll do first. In fact, what we'll do first, we started today.
The local VFW chapter brings tokens of remembrance to the soldiers buried here on post (we live on Fort Huachuca). Jennie and the kids and I volunteer each year and set out symbols to each fallen soldier's faith (some crosses, some not), along with a small American flag. Tomorrow, we'll go and listen to people talk about the importance of remembering all the sacrifices and difficult times these soldiers and their families went through, and then a few hours later we'll gather the symbols up, and put them away until next Memorial Day.
The day hits close to home for every Soldier, every Marine, every Sailor, and every Airman. We all sacrifice, in order to make things better for others, but the price of some sacrifices is so unutterably high that the only thing we can do is honor their memory. In my own family, we've been pretty lucky. My father-in-law SGT Richard A Brock, was in the Army in Europe in World War II, and he was captured by the Nazis and kept as a prisoner of war. He and a fellow prisoner escaped, and by some miracle made it back to friendly lines. My grandfather, William D. Jarrett, Sr. was in the Navy in the North Atlantic during World War II, and his ship actually captured a German U-Boat. My father, William D. Jarrett, Jr. was in the Air Force during Viet Nam. Then there's my adventures in Afghanistan.
Like I said, we've been lucky. All of us survived our wars. For some, that wasn't the case, and the only thing we can do is remember those that went before, those that sacrificed all for their fellow man, and for all of us who came after them.
Thank you, fallen warriors.