On a day where we think about soldiers and their sacrifice, I would like to honor their families – the ones left behind, never knowing when or even if they will be reunited, the ones who constantly live with a knot in the pit of their stomachs, the ones who sacrifice more than most.
We watch, like voyeurs, the videos of returning soldiers surprising their children at school, at a ball game, at Christmas. It brings tears to my eyes, and I know I am not alone. But lately, I have to admit, I don’t want to watch. It feels too intimate, like a performance I haven’t been invited to attend. I don’t believe it does justice to their sacrifice, and it makes me feels like I’m getting a cheap thrill at the expense of all they have endured.
Maybe that’s why when we think of Memorial Day we, in part, think about gatherings of family and friends. It’s a chance to celebrate our connectedness, to cherish those around us. We are privileged to have such a blessing because of the sacrifice of others – both on the part of the soldiers and their families. When we celebrate as family and friends, we recognize that greater sacrifice. It is indeed a fitting tribute to what this holiday is all about.