Last Monday I attended two Memorial Day parades and services. My two older sons participated in these ceremonies with their respective school marching bands. My oldest son, a senior within weeks of graduation, played with the high school band, and the other played with his middle school marching band. Because they attend a regional school system comprised of two neighboring towns, they march and play at each town's parade and ceremony. My wife, youngest son and I watched the parades, listened to the speakers and participated, as I am sure many of you did, with a mix of sadness and pride.
The person who serves for our country, let's not forget, is separated from their families with additional financial and personal burdens placed upon them. It is unimaginable to me to be separated from your family, particularly from your children, for any length of time. The soldier and his or her children must suffer greatly with their separation. Spouses denied each other's support, comfort and affection, which we often take for granted, must make the separation incredibly difficult. Yet they do it, or did it in past service to our country, knowing that this sacrifice provides and keeps our country free so that we all can enjoy our liberty and pursuit of happiness.
The utmost sacrifice is when life is lost defending our freedoms. The sum of relationships untended to or never made, or ambitions and accomplishments never realized when a life is cut short, we can never know. There is no higher price paid for our freedom.
One of the speakers asked that when we see a current or former member of our Armed Forces we should thank them for their service. This is a great idea and they deserve our thanks without question, although I'm sure many would say that this is unnecessary. One speaker posed another good idea. She asked that we all go about our Memorial Day, playing ball, having backyard cookouts or whatever, savoring this time and our country, recognizing that this is exactly why our service men and women sacrificed.