Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day of reflection and honoring those who paid the ultimate price to protect our nation and way of life. As we remember those who served so honorably our thoughts will undoubtedly wander across a range of images and events. For me, Memorial Day will always bring recollection of a conversation with my Mother on the evening of 9/11.
Born in 1921 and married at 18, my Mother’s experiences of having lived through WWII, Vietnam and other conflicts made her the wiser on what the future would bring to our country in the aftermath of the attacks. “You don’t understand, James, we will go to war and it will take our nation’s best.” Her words were prophetic to a degree that I will never fully appreciate.
In our industry, the word “best” is associated with accomplishment and titles like, CEO. But, for my Mother is was about service and sacrifice for others that deemed a person to be one of “our nation’s best’ and there is no greater sacrifice than giving one’s life in the service for others.
Since Sept 11th, more than 6,800 American serviceman and servicewomen have been killed in action. They heard a call, volunteered, served unselfishly and sacrificed. Their families, having paid a heavy price, keep their memories alive and fight to enjoy the gift provided to us all by their lost loved ones, freedom.
While some of these 6,800 would have gone on to achieve the title of CEO, all would have undoubtedly continued to serve and sacrifice for others. They would have gone on to serve in their communities with titles like coach. We know this with great certainty because others who served alongside them and returned home are doing just that today.
“You don’t understand, James, we will go to war and it will take our nation’s best.” Her words were prophetic to a degree that I will never fully appreciate.
Our country’s veterans are our nation’s best. They are that co-worker who inspires us to be our best version, the neighbor who makes us feel a little bit safer and the friend we seek out for perspective on everyday problems.
While Memorial Day is about honoring the fallen, veterans help us understand the character of those who sacrificed for us and have so deservedly come to earn our thoughts, prayers and gratitude tomorrow and every day.
On behalf of the STA organization we thank the families of our nation’s fallen and wish you peace this Memorial Day.