This Memorial Day Remember the Ongoing Sacrifices of Our Military and Their Families

Like many Americans, my Memorial Day weekend begins at the airport.

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see faces and cell phones pressed to the nearby airplane’s oval windows. A small crowd is also gathered above us in the terminal, looking on. My team of seven sailors, dressed in our summer whites, is waiting on the tarmac of Birmingham’s airport to receive the last remains of our shipmate.

We will carry him to the waiting hearse with all the dignity and precision that we can muster as an honor guard for the U.S. Navy.

In today’s America, the stillness and formality of this moment feels very much out of place with our casual and irreverent culture. I’m proud of my team, but I’m also heartened that busy travelers pause, take off their hats, and silently pay tribute to this sailor coming home.

As an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, I have buried 173 fellow service members. Some have died young, like Joshua Kaleb Watson, an ensign just out of Annapolis, shot by an Islamic terrorist in Pensacola. Others have been old men, like Hormer Kapula, a World War II vet who died at 101 years old. (Read more from “This Memorial Day Remember the Ongoing Sacrifices of Our Military and Their Families” HERE)

Photo credit: Flickr