Don't take things for granted.
I remember the day my friend walked up to me and said, "I never want to take you for granted." and then laid this in my hand.
I looked, laughed, and we gave each other a hug. Jeff made an impression on me that day. Clearly, the gift Jeff gave me was a small chunk of granite. You know, the stuff grave markers are made of.
The irony was not lost on me and so I offer you the same gift. I never want to take you or anyone else for granted. Those of you I know are an important part of my life's journey. There are others reading this whom I have never met and yet you too are part of my journey. I want to say "Thank You" to each and every one of you.
This weekend is the unofficial start to summer with picnics, parties, and three day weekends. Memorial Day has always been different for me. My understanding of this National observance has always been formed by a solemn military ceremony on Sunday afternoons at a little church cemetery in Clearfield county. Veterans would arrive in the afternoon, gather around a pre-chosen grave and then proceed to memorialize the fallen soldier. As a young boy, I was enthralled by the retired soldiers and was especially engaged when the 21 gun salute was volleyed. The final piece of my Memorial Day understanding would come as the trumpeter would play "Taps". Tears and chills still overtake me when I hear this haunting yet comforting piece played.
Day is done
Gone the sun From the lakes
From the hills From the sky All is well, safely rest. God is nigh. Fading light Dims the sight And a star Gems the sky, Gleaning bright From afar, Drawing nigh, Falls the night. Thanks and praise, For our days, Neath the sun, Neath the stars, Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.
This Memorial Day, pause to remember the women and men who died to defend our freedoms, those who perished while stopping an injustice somewhere in the world, and those who lost their lives because they believed in liberty and democracy. Never take for granted all that we enjoy in America. Those gifts were offered to us with a price tag no one could ever pay in dollars. It was paid for by countless lives.
In the midst of picnics, vacation trips, and enjoyment of the long weekend, stop and gather your family and friends and observe a minute of silence to pay respect for those who died and those who lost love ones in all the conflicts over the years.
It is a memorial moment we should never take for granted.