Today is the day the United States celebrates Memorial Day. Memorial Day is when we give tribute to all those who have given their lives in the service of protecting the United States in some military fashion. There are memorials everywhere today, at almost every graveyard in the country. Those running the facilities will often go out and add little flags to the graves of military personnel, whether they were killed in service or not; at least they do where my dad is.

It’s an odd thing to think about, the possibility of losing a family member during a war. I wasn’t alive when my dad was in Korea, but I was when he went to Vietnam. It was a strange time, 1969, because we were just into the period where, after Walter Cronkite “outed” the government for not being truthful with both the death and injured stats, it looked like the numbers had drastically jumped. As a 10-year old, I used to watch the Friday evening news with my mother to see the death and injury tolls, always hoping that we wouldn’t be having someone visit us to give us bad news.

At least that’s how it’s done now. Based during World War II, people received letters in the mail, the old “We regret to inform you,…” letters that were so impersonal that it engendered more hate than remorse. The military does a much better job now of working with families to honor their own.

I don’t know if you support the United States policies on war or not, but whether you do or don’t, this isn’t about you today. This is about those people who lived up to the conviction to do what they wanted or needed to do for the rest of us. I give them all a big salute; I hope you do also.