Have you ever said “Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!”, and then thought to yourself is that appropriate given the somber nature of the holiday? Have you ever wondered how to address the day’s importance with those who may have served alongside those who’ve lost their lives in the service of their country? If you have you are certainly not alone as Memorial Day seems to bring a paradox of emotions to many of us- regardless of our background. Having experienced these complex emotions personally I believe that one way to honor those who’ve lost their lives and connect with those who’ve served beside them is to “Ask, Reflect, and Commit.”
“Ask”- Who do you think about on Memorial Day? Just about everyone is- in some way- connected to a veteran. And, given the events of these last few decades- and the conflicts of the previous generations- it’s very likely that the veteran you know has lost a fellow veteran in combat. While some of these memories may still be raw and painful to process, I believe that for so many veterans, myself included, it’s powerfully healing to share these memories. When asked I share the exuberance of 1LT Tim Price, or the compassion of CPT Brian Freeman. Sharing the memories helps me honor their service- and personally heal. So, if you have a chance to spend time with a veteran this weekend simply ask them to share a memory of one of their heroes.
“Reflect”- Take a moment of reflection- but also live your life! Memorial Day is a balance- it’s a time to honor those who’ve sacrificed and the families that have been left behind. But, it’s also a time to spend with family and friends- celebrating what’s most important in our lives. While it’s been a divisive year in many ways I believe that it’s more important than ever that we cherish what’s important to each of us as a way of paying tribute to those we’ve lost.
“Commit”- To a cause you are passionate about. Memorial Day is only one day of the year. Yet, the true measurement of our collective commitment to the memory of those who’ve lost their lives goes beyond that day. And, it comes in many different forms. I’m honored to be a part of SHRM’s and the SHRM Foundation’s commitment to veteran’s transition as helping veterans find purpose-filled careers helps heal the wounds of war. So, commit to a cause, something you believe passionately in, and follow through for the rest of the year. And yes, that cause can absolutely be a commitment to peace while still honoring those who serve and have served.
I truly believe we should wish everyone a “great Memorial Day weekend.” And, by taking a moment to ask, reflect, and commit we can find that balance between time with family and friends- enjoying the beginning of summer- while paying tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.