These were the opening words to the great Shawnee Chief Tecumseh poem. These along with the rest of the words in the poem represent importance most do not understand.
As Memorial Day sets I realize many people do not understand the true meaning behind the holiday. I don’t blame them, I blame our society for failing to appreciate the meaning as well as teach the meaning. For many, it is a time to celebrate, vacation, spend time with family. I’m grateful for being able to do so over the past myself, but it was always with a different purpose. Memorial Day is about honoring our fallen, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives defending our way of life.
My brothers watch over me
I do not need a holiday to remind me of their sacrifice once a year for I live with it daily. I know my brothers are watching me and I am bound by an unwritten code to simply live a life worthy of their sacrifice. To represent them both on and off the battlefield, our code and way of life. I have but one question to ask as we reflect on our fallen, have you yourself lived a life worthy of their sacrifice? Have you given your all, walked the difficult path, made the right choice over the easy one? These are not acts, these are the marks of integrity. My wish is for people across our great country to take a moment to genuinely answer this question.
When some one accidentally says “thank you” to me on Memorial Day, I don’t fly off the handle at them. They don’t understand, but their gesture is sincere and if they matter to me in my life I will take the time to explain the difference. I don’t need a thank you, nor recognition. I only ask reverence for our fallen and for you to live the life they could not so their death does not go forgotten. Can you do that, because if you can their sacrifice will never be forgotten.
It was always my honor to wear the uniform, to represent my country and my brothers. Some will never understand the commitment necessary. It is not important they understand it, but I hope they would recognize the sacrifices of all those who go into harms way. The hours, days, weeks, years lost with family and loved ones as they prepare, train and ready for combat with single-mindedness of purpose. And to those who did not come back, we honor you every day by continuing to live a life worthy of your sacrifice.
Leave nothing unsaid
A great example would be the Hero WOD’s the Crossfit community has created to honor our fallen, but more importantly their sacrifice. To unite with single mindless of purpose to endure discomfort together for just a few moments helps some to live that life. There are too many Hero WOD’s, but the beauty of them is the physical and mental demand. For those fleeting moments you understand and someday you will be able to sit at the table. Cherish your loved ones, hold them tight every chance you have and leave nothing unsaid between you and those who matter in your life.
Time is short, but there are miles and miles to go before you sleep. Don’t wait until the last few minutes of your life, live your life and die like the hero going home.