There are certain dates on the calendar that are tougher for me than others. Memorial Day weekend is one of those times that gets tough for me as it approaches. I was driving down the road headed to a business appointment thinking about the day's work when I was struck by emotion. Tears started rolling down my face, the thoughts of work vanished from my mind and, for a moment, I was struck with some painful memories. Why? Why was I hit with this sudden flood of emotion? Memorial Day.
As I gathered myself, I realized that I was filled with a mixture of frustration, guilt and anger. There were other feelings too, but it's clear I was overwhelmed with emotion. I know where the tears come from, I have bracelets around my wrists to remind me every day, but managing these thoughts seems to be the most difficult thing to do. The first tears that fall are always angry tears, sad tears; they are a collection of all my bad emotions. So, while I was driving I made up my mind that no matter how many tears fall this weekend I am going to make them meaningful and positive.
Meaningful and positive? Yes, that's right. There are so many reasons why I need to be positive, starting with the memory of my brothers, Lt. Johnson, Gunny Kenefick, Gunny Johnson, Doc Layton and SFC Westbrook. I had the honor to stand next to these brave men in combat and call them my brothers - I owe it to them to be positive.
I have other reasons to be positive. I have an amazing family who has stood by me and supported me in the darkest moments of my life. I am also fortunate to have great friends who have my back no matter what the circumstances. There is a lot to be thankful for and to be positive about.
As the tears dried up on my face I realized that what I need to be most positive about is the fact that I am so fortunate to be able to live in the greatest country on the face of the earth. I am an American! So when the tears start to roll down the side of your face, I hope you find the strength to stand up tall and stand up proud. Let the tears fall, let all the emotions out and let the tears be spent in honor of the sacrifices made by all the men and women who have served our great country. Finally, when the tears pass, be sure to think of the brave men and women who are still in the fight, who continue to protect our freedom. They made a pledge and took an oath to sacrifice their lives in order for us to be free.
Make this Memorial Day weekend meaningful and positive. Take a moment to remember the fallen and celebrate those who still serve. For Those Who Gave All.