I have never lost a loved one on the field of battle.
I have never received a call, or a visit, from someone telling me that someone close to me was killed in action.
I have never had to face the overwhelming grief and pain such a message would surely bring.
Some of you, though, have, I’m sure. And my heart goes out to you.
You had to say goodbye to a parent, brother, sister, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, son, daughter or best friend long before you were ready, if one ever really is.
You knew this was a real possibility, one that you lived with every day he or she was gone. You knew you could get that terrible news, the news that would shatter your world, and suddenly leave a huge void in your life.
And yet, you stood right by him or her, steadfast in your support, believing because they believed.
This Memorial Day weekend, I’m not just thinking about all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice throughout this nation’s history, as well as in our time, now.
I’m thinking of all the loved ones they left behind.
I’m thinking of you.
War is a polarizing subject. There are those defend it, those who protest it, believers and doubters.
But, this weekend, as we fire up the barbecue grills, or head for the lake, or whatever we have planned to celebrate an extra day off, may we all remember those who gave their lives in battle, whose courage was tested and proven in the crucible of war, whose graves will be marked with American flags in memory of their sacrifice.
And may we offer our heartfelt thanks to the families and friends that remain, carrying on with that same courage.
This grateful civilian salutes you all.