When you pick a spot in the shade to watch your town’s parade, remember the young soldier in the sun-baked desert whose brains were blown out by an insurgent’s bullet.
When the smoke from your grill blows in your face, remember the terror-stricken pilot whose cockpit was filled with fire and smoke as his Avenger TBF went down in the Pacific off of Midway.
When you bite down on that hot dog, remember the soldiers of the 77th Division, behind the German lines with no food and no chance of resupply.
When you dive into the pool, remember the scared young man from Philadelphia who was cut down on Omaha Beach.
When you enjoy the summer, remember the young boys who were freezing in the Ardennes, with Nazi Panzers closing in on them.
When you take a sip of your beer, remember the kid from Arizona, covered in his best friend’s blood at Khe Sanh.
When you fly home, remember the pilots who had their helicopters shot out from under them in Mogadishu.
When you hug your child, remember the mother who is burying her daughter at Arlington.
When you fight with your father, remember the young boy who only knows his father through some pictures and a headstone.
When you hand your wife her plate, remember the young widow who got a telegram that her Marine died on Iwo Jima.
When you get frustrated with your grandfather because you have to help him in and out of his chair, remember the crosses in fields scattered across Europe.
When you sit down, remember the Army Lieutenant who died at her desk in the Pentagon.
When your friends show up late, remember the man whose buddies’ names are carved on a wall of black granite in Washington D.C.
When you take a shower after it’s all over, remember the young men trapped below decks as their ship sank into the mud at Pearl Harbor.
Remember their sacrifice, and the sacrifices of all those who have fought, and bled, and died for this nation, and for you. Remember that your freedom has never been free, but has been paid for with the blood of young men and women like your, and like your children. Remember them on this Memorial Day, and when you say a blessing over your meal, remember to pray for them and their families.
To all those who serve and and who have served, thank you. May God bless you and your loved ones now and forever more. And to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation, thank you for giving your tomorrows for our today. You shall never be forgotten.