As we approach Memorial Day, a day of profound significance and remembrance, let’s take this moment together to reflect on the immense sacrifice made by our brave service members and to honor the indelible legacy they have left behind. As we know, Memorial Day is not simply a day off or a reason to barbecue; as service members, veterans, and members of military families, we know it is a solemn occasion to pay tribute to those who have laid down their lives in service to our nation.
On this special day, we stand united as a community, bound together by the shared appreciation and respect we hold for all of America’s fallen heroes. It is a time to pause and remember the selflessness, courage, and unwavering dedication that these brave men and women displayed in defense of what we hold dear- our national values, our personal freedoms, and the American way of life. At a time when the nation is more focused on the things that divide us, now is the time to prioritize the important values and beliefs that unite us.
The notion of unity is the very foundation upon which our nation stands. Join me in a focus on uniting with all Americans around the ideals that are made stronger and protected because so many brave Americans gave their lives in the name of these United States.
As you reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and how the military has affected your life, your family, and your traditions, remember that all Americans cherish the values of freedom and liberty. Remember that our freedom is never guaranteed, but rather something that is guarded, something that is costly, and something that is eroded by distractions that pull us into opposite corners.
A powerful notion I’ve heard from a Rabbinical Chaplain comes to mind that is especially meaningful on Memorial Day. It went like this: “They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time when somebody says your name for the last time.”
This Memorial Day, join me in honoring those who believed so strongly in the American ideals of unity that they freely took an oath to defend this nation with their life. Please use this Memorial Day to share stories, memories, and anecdotes of a fallen hero. Allow their extraordinary strength and unwavering commitment to our great nation to live on. Speak the name of a fallen service member and ensure that through stories and reflections, their memory lives on.
As we mourn the fallen, allow the spirit of unity and patriotism that they embodied to be at the top of your mind. Let us stand united in remembrance, honoring our fallen heroes who have shaped this nation.
With deepest respect and appreciation,
Thomas Winkel, MA, LPC, NCC
Arizona Coalition for Military Families