Memorial Day 2014

There are more than a million of them, stretching back 239 years. Many, many more if we count those who came home broken and died earlier than they might have otherwise.

I know a few of their names. So do you, I would guess. None of us knows all their names. Some are unknown entirely.

We honor them all. We go on with our lives, but remember their sacrifice.

We say they paid the ultimate price for our freedom. But I think there’s a higher price. And I know many of them would agree with me.

Failing to take action, failing to stand between what you love and those who would harm what you love, is a far higher price than giving your life to protect what you love. Living with that failure, living with the knowledge that you could have taken action but chose not to, is a far higher price.

True, many of them were forced to take action. True, many of them died protecting what they loved from something that may or may not ever have truly threatened it.

That doesn’t diminish their sacrifice. Nor does it diminish their courage for standing in harm’s way.

Enjoy this Memorial Day. Have some barbecue, grill something, drink a beer, or a Coke, or a lemonade. Get some sunshine. I mean to enjoy my day, as well.

But don’t forget those who can’t join you for the holiday. They paid a high price for it.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.