Today, I received the email below from George Vaill, a fellow dental colleague, who specializes in dental office lease negotiations about Memorial Day. It is touching and profound. He expresses my feelings exactly. George can be reached at 781-721-7405, email@example.com, www.georgevaill.com.
Good day, all.
As we approach Memorial Day, 2011, I wish to take you back to the 1950s when we (boys) all played Cowboys and Indians and “war” in the backyard or out in the woods. I suspect that some of you probably had the same visions that I had back then of being a hero, ala John Wayne, stepping out from behind a tree and picking off an enemy combatant with one shot just-in-time to save a buddy’s life. I further suspect that our fathers before us and the young men and women serving us now around the world, whether or not in combat roles, had similar visions during their childhoods; visions of heroism and sacrifice fueled by a patriotic sense of duty to country.
As we walk through our daily lives, we are surrounded by veterans of past wars and conflicts, often times we are unaware of their sacrifices. Those who served in World War I are gone. Those who served in World War II and Korea are dwindling in number. Those who served in Vietnam are most prevalent in our midst. And those who have served in more recent wars in the Middle East are nearly invisible in our society due to their (relatively) small numbers. In fact, many Americans do not personally know anyone who has served in or is currently serving in the Middle East. The good news is that there are fewer soldiers exposed to hostilities these days than there had been in most of America’s previous wars. The downside of that statistic is that, as many of us do not personally know a veteran of recent conflicts, their lives and conditions are mostly out of our sight. And for many, their needs are great and our support wholly insufficient.
I resurrected our childhood memory in order to encourage that we all take a moment, not just on Memorial Day – but every day – to reflect upon and appreciate the sacrifices that have been made in America’s name by our brothers and sisters and which continue to be made by our servicemen and women and their families all over the world every day. Though Memorial Day is about honoring those who died in war, at the same time, honoring with thought and deed those living veterans who are still in our midst will help establish a foundation of remembrance in our collective conscience to serve as a basis upon which to fulfill our solemn pledge to care for all of our veterans in the future forever and ever.
Memorial Day was not established to be used as an excuse for a three day weekend in which to sleep late, go to the mall and have a bar-b-que. Instead, it was established in order that we never forget those who gave their lives that the rest of us might continue to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So please take a quiet moment of reflection this weekend to memorialize our departed veterans. And while you are at it, please make a personal commitment to reach out to a veteran and resolve to honor our individual and collective duty to fulfill our nation’s promise to all who have served America in uniform.