It is Memorial Day, a day in which we step back from our busy lives and remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect, defend and honor this country. It is the first holiday of the year that lets us know summer is upon us. Across the country, Americans will gather with family and friends to fire up the grill, play and have fun. It is also a celebration of our freedoms and blessings.
I remember this day, I remember this day for those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the this country, and I always remember May 15th.
May 15th, 1988, Houston, Texas. I was at the MEPS station for my final swearing-in ceremony to join the United States Navy. That was the day I signed MY check. The moment any volunteer joins a United States Military branch and says their final oath of enlistment, they sign a check, a blank check offering to give their effort, time, work, body and maybe even their life for the protection and defense of this great country.
It has been a LONG time since I took my oath, but I remember it like it was yesterday. Truth be told, I can still remember the following 72 hours after my oath. Even though it was 26 years ago, when I close my eyes I can still smell the sweat from the crammed bus ride as we drove from the airport to the base for basic training.
Regardless what your personal feelings are about the military or their purpose, the reality is that there are people who volunteered their time, and gave their life so you can rest safe at night knowing your rights are protected.
You can disagree with their purpose, but don’t disrespect their sacrifice or service. They signed their blank check and some of them were cashed. I was fortunate enough to serve my tour of duty and have my blank check voided and returned to me.
Please enjoy today but never forget all those cashed checks, and the men and women behind each and every one of them.
If you know someone who is serving, or has served, reach out and say ‘thanks’. If you know a fallen hero, reach out to their family and say thank you. Let them know you will ALWAYS remember that some gave all.