Today is a sad day. It is a day for introspection, for respect, and for the bittersweet memories of young lives cut short. On Memorial Day we remember the fallen.
Their suffering has ended, but for those left behind the suffering continues. While millions of Americans enjoy a day in the park with their families, there are many others who stare at an empty chair, longing for the joy that once was. Their hearts break with every reminder of their loved ones who left but never came home.
It is a day that brings to the surface emotions that lie dormant for most of the year. We grieve, but there is something else there. An embrace. A love for those who have died. A respect that can only be given to those who sacrificed on our behalf. While we were at home, they were out there in harm’s way, fighting so that others might live free.
And we feel something else. We feel pride. Not the shameful kind of pride; rather, the dignified and quiet pride of being a part of something special. Of being Americans.
And in spite of my sadness, I smile.