Around Memorial Day every year I get a bit reflective. Did you know Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, it was a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. Now a days of course it is a day to remember all those who have gone on before us. And certainly there are many, many veteran’s who have served valiantly and are still with us today. But I think that is why I am so reflective during this time of year. Perhaps we are all familiar with John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I think we can all agree that those who have died in the service of their country, have died defending their friends, comrades in arms, or friends at home. That is what is so remarkable to me about our nations veterans. They are willing to put their life on the line so that others might live free.
Since I was a young boy, I had heard stories from my Father, a Captain in the Army, about WWII and the greatest generation. I was always very impressed by what what these brave young Americas and the armed forces had done to free Europe. Many paid the ultimate price to see freedom won. I vowed one day I would go there to see the beaches of Normandy myself.
Finally in 2003, after two years of planning, my desires to travel and see the beaches of D-Day were fulfilled. I walked the 5 landing beaches of the Normandy coast, I saw for myself where these events took place and was awe struck. I am sure you have seen photos of The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial as well. No words can express how I felt standing in the crosses of nearly 10,000 who are buried there. The price paid, the cost in life and lives lost that I felt there, never had that that phrase greater love… meant so much. Many of the graves we looked at were very young 20-somethings. I felt grateful that there have been, are now and will continue to be men and women of valor and honor who serve as members of our military. I can say with sure conviction that I was forever changed that day. After spending 6 weeks in Europe, seeing the sights and so on I longed to return home. Traveling is fun, but it is exhausting and I missed my home. I remember boarding the plane that would take me back to the States and I thought how there may not even be a Europe to have visited if there wasn’t America, and brave veterans who fought a good fight; Some never came home, others did but they were changed. I try to feel grateful everyday for my freedoms. To come and go in this land of liberty as I wish, crossing state borders and such with no papers or fanfare. I am saddened, even disgusted with those who don’t honor and treat our veterans with respect and admiration for their service, their sacrifice. They obviously have no clue as to the freedoms they have and surely take for granted. Paid for by the sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears of those they mock.
I feel it a privilege to work with our nations veterans on a daily basis. Putting together financing for their own “American Dream” of homeownership. If anyone has earned it, they have.