Memorial Day is for those who made the ultimate sacrifice

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Today I saw something interesting on Google. Usually the internet company gets things so correct with their Google Doodles that today it stood out. Under the usual search window where we type in our search criteria there is a waving flag and the words, “Remembering those who served.”

The men and women honored on Memorial Day are the warriors that gave their lives in defense of the country. Not everyone who served, not even all the veterans who have passed away. We have a day for them called Veterans Day, which is November 11.

Today we honor those who gave their last full measure of devotion, as Abraham Lincoln put it so eloquently. I’m guilty of remembering my family members. Dad, an older brother and a brother-in-law, who have passed away, but not of war-related injuries. There is no one in my family tree, that I know of, that died in combat.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego

My initial thought is we should give Google a pass on this mistake because I am certainly stretching the purpose of the day. But on the other hand Google is a media company, a very popular organization that provides information, most of it factual, to millions, maybe billions, of people. The company is not a person posting things on Facebook.

It isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but Google should get it right and inform people why we observe this solemn day.

Thousands of men and women have given their lives to defend this country, in popular wars and in some very unpopular wars. It’s weird referring to some wars as “popular” and others not popular. We shouldn’t glorify wars, whether they are fought for the “right” reasons or wrong reasons. The distinction means little, if anything, to the families of those who have died in our most recent conflicts. The fact is they have lost loved ones, cherished members of their families and communities. It doesn’t really matter what the rest of us think of those wars.

Today we honor the memory of those who went off to war and never came home.  Men and women who, wearing the uniform of our nation, left their families behind knowing there was a chance they would never see their loved one again. Men and women who left spouses and children behind, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

Every person who puts on that uniform, be it for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Coast Guard, knows there is a chance we may never see our family, friends and home again when the unit deploys.

So today, as you have your barbeque, or picnic or whatever your activity may be today, pause for a moment to remember those who died for our freedom to use this holiday for whatever activity we choose. Those of us that served did so — and do so — because we believe in freedom, that government doesn’t tell us what to do with our day off, among other ideals and values.

It’s obvious the people at Google have their hearts in the right place, so they get a little pass. It’s good to know this holiday isn’t passing without notice.

A “Gold Star Family” are people with a loved one that gave their life for this country. If you know a Gold Star Family, extend your condolences. We can never know their sorrow on this day.

Semper Fi to all those who are remembered and honored today for their ultimate sacrifice in service to this nation.

Photos byTim Forkes