Norton: Let’s put aside our differences in honor of the fallen (column)
My hope is that we can put aside any and all political differences and opinions as we take the time this week to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. My hope is that we will also continue to pray for, and support all of the brave men and women who courageously fight and stand at the ready to fight for our continued freedoms today.
In 1986 Ronald Reagan opened his speech at Arlington National Cemetery with this statement, “Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the family and remember.”
To some, Memorial Day is just another holiday. It comes once a year, we become patriotic for a day, or maybe for the weekend, and then we get back to business as usual, life as we know it. Really, some people treat it no differently than Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah or Thanksgiving — a holiday that comes and goes and will come again next year.
How awesome would it be to be grateful and give thanks throughout the year rather than just at Thanksgiving? What would our lives be like if we truly thought about the significance of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Easter throughout the year and not just when the holidays are upon us? My belief is that we would live in a more purpose-filled world, a kinder community, and live together in a more meaningful way.
Memorial Day is really no different. You see, we shouldn’t just go back to business as usual or life as we know it because without the people who have defended us in the past and who have given their lives for us, have been injured, who suffer mental and emotional trauma, and who have served this country with dignity and valor, you and I would not be sitting where we are today.
We wouldn’t have “life as we know it.” No one wants war, but we have countries who continue to posture as if they do. So we need to protect ourselves, our sovereignty, our allies and the future for our children and grandchildren and all generations to follow.
You may be a veteran reading this column, and if so, I salute you. You may have had a family member who gave his or her life in support of our country, and if so I grieve with you. You may have a friend or loved one serving right now, and if so, I stand in respect with you. And you may be considering enlisting yourself, and if so, I honor you. If you are reading this column and thinking that Memorial Day ended a few days ago.
If so, I encourage you to think again. And again. And again. And again. Our veterans and military deserve to be remembered in life and in death.
So how about you? Is Memorial Day just another holiday to you? On the day after the 4th of July do you immediately forget our independence? On the day after Thanksgiving do you forget what you are thankful for? And today and for the rest of the year, will you remember what Memorial Day really stands for? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we can pay tribute to all those who have served and all those who do serve, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.