Memorial Day is our opportunity to honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. They knew what could await them; they volunteered anyway. Their families knew all too well what could happen yet followed and supported their loved one anyway. Their courage and love for America were greater than their love of self.
It’s because of this courage and sacrifice that we also honor the Gold Star families in our communities and across the nation. These are the spouses, parents, and children left behind. The ones who grieve and long for just one more hug, just one more “I love you!” While at the same time being filled with pride for their loved one and the life they lived.
This year we can’t do much of the traditional Memorial Day celebrations like grilling with family and friends, shopping the weekend sales, or watching a parade. Instead, you can fly an American flag (at half-staff until noon, then raise it again to the peak after), visit a military memorial or monument, or observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 local time. You can donate to an organization that supports Gold Star families like the Tragedy Assistance Programs for Survivors (TAPS), The Wingman Foundation, Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, or Gold Star Wives of America. And if you know a Gold Star family, reach out to them. Send flowers or share a fond memory of the one they’re missing; it will bring them more joy than you know.
Let’s take this time to reflect on their ultimate sacrifice. What do you love so much that you would give your life for? And do you show that love and commitment every day? What could you do more? Are you giving that extra hug? Are you saying “I love you” as often as you should? Let’s remember these men and women – and their families. Let’s honor them by doing what we can to make this country a better place, starting in our own homes and our own neighborhoods.
This Memorial Day and every day, we are proud to honor the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives to defend our nation. We are the home of the free because of the brave.