As Memorial Day approaches, I keep thinking about all of the men and women who have selflessly served our country in the Armed Forces. Some were running away, others were inspired, some were required, while others were just searching. No matter what led these men and women to the duty post of soldier, for that decision, I am truly grateful. In our world of political correctness it is so easy to forget the brave folks who stood and served so that we could have the many freedoms that we so often take for granted.
I have spoken with veterans over the years, both young and old; and all stood taller and prouder when their service was mentioned. All of them shed tears when the National Anthem was sung. And all of them stood at attention when our great flag was raised.
But none of them ever declared perfection. If you asked them about their past, so many would have regrets; love lost, bad decisions, severed relationships, missed opportunities. I’ve had several tell me that they wish they could go back and do a better job raising their kids or settle down a little sooner. Some would long for less years in the bottle and more time with their family. Others wished they had turned to God earlier so they would have had a better place to land when they were older. And many would say that the only good they ever did was serve their country.
To all of you veterans and service men and women out there, I just want to say this: it’s not always what you did right, it’s what you left. You left your mark on this great nation. You left your ALL out in the field and in combat. You left families and loved ones behind so you could selflessly serve our great country. You left your footprints on soil where many will never trod.
You left your name on plaques and historical markers as a reminder of your will to fight for freedom. You left friends in foreign lands. You left your heart as you kissed your babies goodbye. You left a legacy for your children and their children when you said yes to serve our country. You left us pride, as we have learned from your example. And so many of you left your lives as you exchanged your next breath for eternity.
Soldiers, thank you. Veterans, thank you. On this special holiday, I just want to remind you that you are never going to get it all right, not ever. But you have fought a good fight and you are doing a great job fighting for our America. Thank you for what you have left for us; your lives, your hearts, your souls, and our freedom-such a precious and often forsaken gift. Thank you, all of you, for what you have left. Happy Memorial Day.