Here in the USA on Monday and throughout this weekend we’re celebrating Memorial Day. It’s the day we take each year to remember those who died in military service to our country. It’s one of several patriotic holidays that we celebrate as a nation, just like other nations around the world take time each year to honor their armed service people. Whether you support the decisions we’ve made in the past or will make in the future to go into war, is not relevant to your ability to honor those who fought. To clarify, shame on you for not recognizing and thanking service men and women just because you don’t agree with going to war. Yes, I really believe that even if we don’t agree with the reason they’re out serving or the location they’re serving in it isn’t a reason to ignore them, the work they’ve done and portion of their life and the lives of their family they’ve given to serving the country. It’s about more than showing up for a parade or waving a flag. It’s about giving service people jobs, providing them with resources, supporting their return and re-integration into society and support of their family too.
Each day each of us make sacrifices. Sometimes it’s as insignificant as giving up your coffee so your kid can have a drink or letting someone else use the copier at work first. You won’t be recognized for those sacrifices, or for sacrifices like giving up gas-guzzling cars or wasteful and anti-nature spending habits, because those are things that we can and all should do as humans living and interacting together, even though sometimes you really feel like cheering for particularly tough sacrifices like being nice to mean coworkers and putting your partner first when you never go first. Those aren’t life-endangering sacrifices, you won’t die if you don’t have a cup of coffee (at least I haven’t heard of it yet), but too many soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice.
So this Memorial Day I encourage you to do something to support the veterans, and the families of soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here are a few of my favorite veteran support organizations (Wounded Warriors Project, Hope for the Warriors, Puppies Behind Bars, Homes for Our Troops, Fisher House Foundation, Patriot Paws, Hero Dogs, and Travis Mills), make a donation, get involved locally with one of them, or even share a Facebook/Twitter post of theirs to spread the word about what they’re doing, and don’t forget to thank a veteran when you see them out this weekend.