Memorial Day is about a lot more than BBQ and sleeping in a few extra hours. Today we honor and remember the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom. We thank those who have paid the ultimate cost, and we remember their families in our thoughts and prayers. We thank those who have missed birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, and births of children so that they could protect all of us. We thank the men and women who weren’t properly thanked when they returned home from war years ago. We thank you for the heat and cold you’ve endured, the sleepless nights, the aches and pains, the dirt and mud you’ve sat in for hours at a time, the cracked lips, the burned skin, the wounds you’ve suffered, and the emotion of war. We thank those who have served outside of wartime, those who kept us safe in ways that we never realized.
At the same time, I realize that many of you do not want to be thanked. Many soldiers have told me that they don’t know what to say when someone thanks them and how it feels awkward and almost unjust to be thanked for serving. Yet, I don’t know what else to say to express how much I value the work that you have done and continue to do for all of us. I will pray for troops to return home safely, for peace, for rest and peace of the spirit, and I will have a heart of gratitude on this Memorial Day for all of you.