"For those have fought for it, and almost died, life has a flavor that the protected with never know." - Purple Heart Memorial at the Military Museum, San Diego, California.
There is something magical about watching a child cast their eyes upon a service member in uniform for the first time. With all of their innocence and lack of worldly experience even that child knows that person is someone special and that uniform represents something incredible. I wonder when that innate understanding and acceptance disappears.
Today is Memorial Day.
For most it is a day off of work or school, one of those big sales days at the store, a day to grill out in the back yard and spend much cherished time with friends and family. For most, the real reason for today is as far from their mind as that first time that they laid eyes on that symbolic uniform as a child. This isn't a day of ticker tape parades and welcome home banners for those returning from a war laden land far, far away to hug their spouse, their child, their father - but, it should be. It should be a day, not to honor those returning to their physical home - not that they don't deserve our eternal gratitude - but those that have traveled to their Heavenly home, to be with their Heavenly Father, for those are the ones for which have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great country. Today is the day remember and give thanks for those who have died so that the rest of the country can exist behind a curtain of protection that most find so easily forgettable.
So as you enjoy the day, with friends and family, take a moment to remember those who no longer have that luxury. Remember those who laid down their life for you, so that you may exhaust the great liberties provided to every citizen of this country. Remember those that no longer have the luxury of time spent with their loved one, their real life American hero. Today, remember that freedom is by no means free.