“We remember.” This is a mantra spoken among my fellow bomb technicians. Two simple, yet heavy words which flood my mind and heart with thoughts and emotions for all who have served this great nation and no longer make that morning muster. After 20 years of continuous conflict, it is hard to find a service member living today that does not carry a story of one now passed.
I have a story or two. When I look back…When I remember, I picture uncommon heroes that proudly and professionally did what so few are willing to do, or could even fathom doing.
These warriors trained day and night to be the best in the world at their profession, bringing discomfort to our nation’s and our allies' enemies. They left families and friends behind to go into the most inhospitable environments - against decidedly inhospitable adversaries.
They carried rifles, grenades, ammunition, first aid kits, radios, shoulder-fired rockets, mortars, and endless numbers of implements of war, sometimes even carrying each other… they carried their “kit” through the deserts of North Africa, through the frozen forests of Belgium, Italy, France, Holland, across the rice paddies of Vietnam, the jungles of Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Philippines, Bosnia, Kosovo, Persian Gulf, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria - In the skies and the deepest depths of the oceans - They carried their kits and they did their duties.
These brave souls signed a contract, exchanged their lives for their flag and their Constitution. They exchanged a lifetime of birthdays, anniversaries, football games, ballet recitals, and graduations for you and me. They exchanged all of their date nights, childrens’ weddings, and fishing trips with the grandchildren for their brothers and sisters to the left and right of them - so that they would not have to exchange theirs.…at least not that day.
When I say “We Remember,” it is with love and gratitude. This country, the freedom we enjoy, and the lives we have, the opportunity to live each day were paid for with a million tomorrows from these brave men and women.
This is my humble reminder to appreciate what we have here in the United States.
Just as many of you, I’ll be enjoying this long Memorial Day weekend. The BBQ will be hot and the beer cold. Hopefully, I’ll get to share a story or two, some fond memories of brothers no longer with us.
Please, take time this Memorial Day, to reflect on what was exchanged throughout the creation and defense of this wonderful country.
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