Some Gave All

Memorial Day always seems to be cloudy and wet where I live. This is appropriate for the day we set aside to honor those who gave their lives in service to the country.

In wartime, people die in many ways, and for many reasons. Some never saw it coming. Others know where they are going, and do it anyway. All should be honored.

With the draft long gone, too few people today understand what it means to serve. I was a soldier once, and the memories are (unfortunately, sometimes) all too close. One thing you learn very quickly in the Army is that you cannot survive alone. Soldiers learn to depend on each other, to help each other, to take care of each other - and sometimes to die for each other.

We say that fallen veterans died for America. In fact, most did not. When death is coming and sacrifices must be made, soldiers rarely think about the flag. They don't give their lives for their country, their general, or their captain. They don't die for their families, either. The patriotism that surrounds Memorial Day is mainly for the benefit of the living.

The truth is soldiers die for other soldiers. They give their lives for their friends, because they know their friends would do the same. This is what defines a hero. They did what we all - having lived together, worked together, laughed together, and cried together - hope we could do.

Their moment came, and they proved themselves worthy. This is why we honor them. Never forget it.

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