Memorial Day is always a good day for reflection and gratitude – for grieving the ones we’ve lost and for celebrating what they did for us in their time on this earth. As I’ve posted before, it is a particularly poignant time for my family as it was 23 Memorial Days ago that we lost my dad after a 10+ year fight with cancer.
This 23rd Memorial Day is especially significant for remembering Dad – and not only because 23 is my favorite number! Dad was born January 23, 1945. When I was born March 23, 1979, Dad was 34 years and two months old. Guess what age I turned a few days ago: 34 years and two months . . .
It’s a bit mind blowing to think of myself as the same age as my father when he and my mom brought me into this world. The image of him fixed in my mind is always one of an older/wiser/sterner parent – which is hard to reconcile with the notion of him as a hypothetical peer. I’m spending the day listening to his old records and playing his old pinball machines.
And while I do focus a great deal on him each Memorial Day, I also take plenty of time to reflect on my gratitude to those who have died while putting themselves in harm’s way for our country. It is humbling to think of how little I’ve risked or sacrificed relative to them. It always leaves me with a sense of duty and purpose that I must do everything I can to ensure they didn’t die in vain. I must be the best I can be – as a person, as a professional, and as a citizen.
So thank you, fallen patriots; I’m trying to live up to your example.