Memorial Day: Honoring Sacrifice and Supporting Our Veterans

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The History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was established in the years following the Civil War. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. The first observance took place on May 30, 1868, with flowers placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This day serves to honor those who have died in American military service, reflecting on their courage and dedication in defending our freedoms.

The Cost of Sacrifice

To date, over 1.1 million American soldiers have died in U.S. wars. The Civil War remains the deadliest conflict in American history, followed by World War II. Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder of the high cost of war and the sacrifices made by so many for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Reflections on Memorial Day

Each pair of boots shown in the image represents a fallen soldier. The first time I saw the field at Fort Cavazos’s (Formerly Fort Hood) 3 Corps, it was difficult to process, reminiscent of my feelings when visiting Arlington National Cemetery.

As Memorial Day approaches, it’s important to remember a few key points:

For Veterans: I get it, this isn’t a “happy day,” but if someone wishes you a “Happy Memorial Day,” try not to get upset. Instead, take a moment to educate them about the true meaning of the day. Share personal stories of those you served with, brothers & sisters in arms, loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For Everyone: While you are enjoying the weekend festivities, cookouts, and celebrations take a moment to pause, be completely present, and reflect on all the things you are grateful for. We were gifted this freedom by those who signed a blank check that was cashed which included a payment of their lives, the ultimate sacrifice.

Personal Reflections on Memorial Day Weekend:

We honor their sacrifice not by mourning them, but by living for them each day. It took me years to reframe my mindset from anger and sadness to gratefulness and love. In all honesty, it was a lot of therapy, deep conversations, and introspection. Anxiety, guilt, moral injury, and post-traumatic stress, were all among the things that tended to plague me, especially around anniversary dates and holidays like Memorial Day. Taking action to work on this, hands down, has been the best investment I could’ve made for myself, my family, and to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. They wouldn’t want us to sit in sorrow or guilt, they would want us to be living up to our fullest potential, to be leading in our personal and professional lives, to be serving in our communities, and partaking in all the different Memorial Day festivities. From cookouts to workouts, I’ll be partaking in all of it and more.

My hope, and call to action, whether you are a veteran or not, that you all part-take in honoring their sacrifice by living fully, that is what they would’ve wanted.

#MemorialDay #HonorTheFallen #HonorTheirSacrifice

Upcoming Events: TMC Veterans Committee Hiring Event on July 10th!  Learn more here.

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