The final Monday on the calendar in May is set aside to commemorate those who have defended our country so that we may have the freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis. Along with a few other single day holidays, it’s a wonder why, given the significance and magnitude, something so connected with our lives is allotted only one day. I’d imagine most, if not all, of us know someone who’s served in the Armed Forces. It might be a family member, friend, coworker, etc. All are deserved of our thanks and much more for putting their lives on the line, and in some cases losing their lives. I’m not familiar with all of the benefits afforded our veterans. Yet, from what I understand, it seems that an upgrade is in order regarding being recognized and taken care of by the country they’ve served. It is because of these soldiers that we have the opportunity to create our own memories.
What would life be like without memories? Many can recall going to the zoo, gym class, a family trip, or even their first kiss. Certain happenings from the past remain permanently etched and ready for seemingly instant recall. I recollect being chased daily during recess from first through fourth grade and never being caught. Memories of playing football in the snow at the sandlot with my friends linger on. Working out with my dad beating him for the first time in basketball, and the look filled with mixed emotions on his face flashback with clarity. I’ll never forget hitting a home run on my initial at bat, on the first pitch ever in an official baseball game, nor the championships and friendships. The trips up-county on Sundays to see my grandmother, and stopping on the way home at Milk Barn for the best ice cream still hold a place in my heart as well as my subconscious. Having the family there for both the Bachelors and the Masters graduations was special as were my days with grandma Nettie. I can go on and on, and I’m sure you can relate on various levels.
As important as our memories are to us as civilians, it is even more vital that we properly recognize, take care of, remember, and fully support those who have served in our Armed Forces. More celebrations recognizing and remembering their contribution, an increase in job assistance services, and ongoing counseling for all veterans and especially those diagnosed with PTSD are needed. Remember, we’re all in this together.