Special Memorial Day Post (PLEASE READ!) πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡²

First, let’s take a moment out of our entire day — One moment of silence for our fallen heroes…

Next: Let me encourage you to give back today. If you can, give some money to an organization that keeps their memory alive and restores our appreciation of them. Below are a couple of examples of places to donate and the links to their websites. Look up events, gravesites, and memorial sites in your area and pay them a visit. If you have a relative who fought and died in a war, share a picture of them (if you have one), say a few words about them. Do these things today. The smallest gesture is the least we can do to honor those who — as The Gettysburg Address states — “gave the last full measure of devotion.”

Benson, Az

Lastly: This is perhaps most important. Let us not forget those who are still fighting a war after their return home. I’m talking about the men and women suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, and more in the aftermath of wartime experiences. There are far too many who have lost that war by their own hand, a fact we shall not forget. Each year, that number grows. It remains a fact that the majority of Service members who die by suicide were not diagnosed with mental illness. A really great supporter of our American troops is Country singer Trace Atkins. In his song, “Til’ The Last Shot’s Fired,” he does his best to tell a timeless story about a dead soldier from their perspective. During the song’s bridge, he sings:

“I’m in the fields of Vietnam

The mountains of Afghanistan

And I’m still hopin’, waitin’ prayin’

I did not die in vain”

The only major example missing from this song is the soldier who came home but the war followed. One of my very best friends, Christina had a brother who served. He ended up committing suicide. I never asked for any details. One day, about a couple years ago, a group of us attended a suicide prevention walk in Tucson. They had everyone stand for the National Anthem before the event started. As it played, Christina stood near me, hand over heart, and she was sobbing. I saw first-hand the price of freedom that day, and I will never forget it. Her husband, Josh once showed me the music video for a song by Five Finger Death Punch, called “Wrong Side Of Heaven.” The video had facts written out on what a soldier goes through after war, what happens to many of them back at home. I think that was Josh’s way of explaining to me what he goes through as a vet. My husband, Caleb had a best friend named Dusty, who served in the Army. About a month before Caleb and I met, Dusty snuck a gun into his barracks and killed himself. Caleb doesn’t talk about it much — only to say he attended the funeral and now can’t hear “One Hell Of An Amen” by Brantley Gilbert without getting emotional.

Everyone knows someone. Let’s do our best to honor them today.

Donations

If you made it this far, thank you. Please like this post. Also, share any loved one who died in/because of war in the comments.

Just below is a Boot Camp photo taken at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. The date is May 23, 1966, I believe. The man in the photo is my mom’s uncle that she never met. He would become a casualty of war in South Vietnam — Quang Tin — at just twenty years old. He was awarded the Purple Heart. I am humbled to know that one of my relatives not only served in this war, he enlisted. God bless Steven Wesley McGee, forever.

Steven W. McGee, Lance Corporal US Marine Corps. DOD 7/6/67

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