Remembering Our Fallen Heroes/Memorial Day 2010
By Debbie Lee, Gold Star Mom
Memorial Day 2010 is quickly approaching and again this year my focus is about the reason that we as a nation have set aside this holiday.
I’ve heard all the commercials advertising the upcoming “Blowout Sales” for Memorial Day. Families are excited planning for the three day weekend that signals the beginning of summer to many families. Public pools are opening for the weekend, grills are being prepared for the big bar-b-que, and the majority of Americans including our President are focused on fun and families.
It amazes me when I ask people what Memorial Day is about and what the weekend means to them. As a child it was family picnics, fun and sometimes we would visit the cemetery and visit a distant loved ones grave. Unfortunately like the majority of Americans I wasn’t taught the true meaning of Memorial Day.
I’ve already received several emails forwarded by well meaning people reminding us to honor our Veterans this weekend. I was listening to the radio the other day when they announced a symphony event to honor our troops with patriotic music. Many of our parade organizers have it wrong asking our troops to come to honor them. Don’t get me wrong our troops need to be honored everyday for what they do and the sacrifices they make. I have thank you cards that I carry with me and no one who has served gets by me without receiving a card, and a hand shake or a hug. I have dedicated my life to honoring our troops, their families and especially the families of the fallen, but the National Holiday to honor our Vets is Veteran’s Day.
Memorial Day is the time we as a nation remember America’s Mighty Warriors who sacrificed their lives in combat fighting for our freedoms. As a Mother of one of those Warriors who willingly gave his life in battle for our freedoms, every day for me is Memorial Day. If you lost a son, daughter, husband, wife, Mother, Father, sibling or family member you too understand. We remember their smiles, their laughter, their smell, their touches, their quirks, their hugs, their looks, and their voices. We remember how they lived out loud and how they sacrificed everything, they gave their tomorrows so that we could have our todays.
A huge hole is left in my life as I think of my son Marc Alan Lee who was the first Navy SEAL killed in Iraq 8-2-06. Yet I am so proud of this young man whose name means “Mighty Warrior.” His selfless character allowed him to make the choice to give his life so that others could live. He stood in the direct line of fire three times that day to defend his buddies but he didn’t do that just for them. He did that for you and for me and this country he so loved. That same character runs true for those that we remember on this Memorial Day.
As a nation we need to remember their sacrifice, their courage, and the families they left behind. We need to remember the exchange they made. They exchanged their lives for our freedoms, our families, our country, our faith, our lives, our liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It grieves my heart to see so many in this nation whose priorities on Memorial Day neglect to honor our heroes who died in combat, especially when I watch the actions of our President who continues to disgrace our men and women in the military and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. His words tell us that his priorities are to take care of our troops and then we watch his actions over and over that say just the opposite.
My heart was deeply pierced this morning as I learned that Obama has decided to take a family vacation back to Chicago and will not be laying a wreath at Arlington Nat’l Cemetery to honor and remember our fallen heroes. What a dishonor to our heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice and to their families. It is incomprehensible that our Commander -In-Chief would disgrace and dishonor our fallen warriors this way.
If you are an American who understands the real reason for Memorial Day, God bless you. If you are one who like me as a child wasn’t educated about the true meaning, this is your wake up call. Please get educated and take the responsibility to educate others around you.
Please attend your Memorial Day Parades, visit a Nat’l Cemetery and honor those buried there and pray for their families, read the history of our brave warriors who fought and died and take a moment at your bar-b-que and gatherings to recognize and honor those who deeply gave so that you could live.
If you are a Gold Star family please know that I will never forget the sacrifice that your loved one has made for me and my freedoms. I am a grateful American and I will never forget.
In Memory of Marc Alan Lee
Gone but not forgotten!