Lest We Forget

I hope you will excuse my digression from posting information, resources or inspiration focused only on non-profit management. I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this Memorial Day holiday. Beyond the first long holiday weekend in the United States, we should remember what Memorial Day weekend is all about. This Memorial Day weekend was an opportunity to remember, honor and respect United States service men and women. Why leave it to one day or weekend? We read and hear about the work of our military everyday on the news. If we don’t remember and take note, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Some would say we are, but until they are all home safe, we must watch carefully and speak out when necessary. Those who are serving must be supported and brought home as soon as possible.

Chicago produced a parade on Saturday in honor of those who have and are currently serving. It brought home, in real, person to person contact numbers of people and the sacrifice military personnel make for us. Thousands of military folks walked in the parade, in formation. Bands played, ROTC and JROTC corps marched. The crowds along the route cheered and clapped…as we should just as the smallest token of our thanks.

The Sunday talk shows and radio were full of veteran stories, remembrances, visits to Arlington Cemetery – which they should be. On CBS Colin Powell spoke eloquently, as usual, about the service our military men, women and families give to our country. I agreed with him.

Bob Edwards Weekend on NPR shared interviews with doctors who served in Vietnam. While Bob warned of the graphic nature of the stories, I forced myself to listen. Listening to their stories of the operating room, evacuating patients from the field, some service people dying and others living long enough to commit suicide rather than live with their injuries, made me think of news items about those killed or injured in our current war zones – Afghanistan and Iraq. Will we have to wait 40 years to hear their stories? We shouldn’t and can remember them today and every day.

I think about those in the military serving as peacekeepers in all over the world in places where we fought and have not secured peace. In some cases, they live with and without their families. And while I understand the military is a voluntary service, that doesn’t mean we cannot appreciate their service, support them in their work and remember those who lost their lives.

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