Recently I traveled to Florida and on my flight from Louisville to Atlanta I shared a soldier’s last journey home. The experience heightened my personal awareness and reverence for the profound contributions of our servicemen and women.
Today is Memorial Day, a day dedicated to remembering those who have died while serving our nation. This day is a unifying way for all Americans to commemorate our shared history. Today especially we honor those who have sacrificed everything to protect our freedoms.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her
life to something bigger than oneself.”
Only after the plane landed, the pilot shared with us that a fallen soldier was also on board. When the plane reached the gate, nobody moved, sitting in reverential silence as the honor guard descended the steps to the tarmac.
I sat there speechless with my fellow passengers, internally processing the extraordinary selflessness of his service and his family’s great sacrifice. He forfeited his future to preserve ours.
He died for our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, values treasured by Americans since the time of the Revolutionary War.
My seat was on the opposite side of the plane to where the honor guard saluted his arrival at the airport. I did not witness his flag salute, but I paid him tribute in my thoughts. When I finally left the plane his cortege was moving away, led by a dedicated transportation vehicle, adorned with the stars and stripes. On the side the following words were painted:
“All Give Some,
Some Give All.”
This unknown soldier may always remain nameless to me and my fellow passengers, but in our hearts we commemorated his American identity and his sacrifice to protect our liberties. As a nation of families and friends our thoughts were with his loved ones. We will never forget their sacrifice, suffering and grief.
“On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes
of a mighty nation!”
-Thomas William Parsons
Today, as I think back on this moving experience my prayers are dedicated to the memories of all soldiers killed in the far too many wars this nation has endured for the sake of liberty.
“And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.”
May God Bless America and her courageous sons and daughters.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)