Monday, May 31

Remembering Those Who Made Ultimate Sacrifice

MEMORIAL DAY IS A NATIONAL holiday in America. My kids are out of school today. I could be off work, and I am, sort of, even though I’m catching up on a few work-related tasks. It’s easy to think of Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer, a long weekend for outdoor fun and cookouts, as they’re called in the South.

But it’s always good for me to be reminded about the true reason for Memorial Day: to honor and remember United States military personnel who died in service to this country. That’s bravery. That’s sacrifice.

I got an early reminder two weeks ago when I was in Fort Smith, Arkansas, visiting 1955 U.S. Open champion Jack Fleck. I stayed at a downtown hotel and on one of my walks I discovered the nearby national military cemetery. It was a gorgeous evening. The gates were open so I entered the manicured grounds with the hundreds of small, white gravestones. I don’t know why. I was just drawn to the quiet and solemnity of the military cemetery and stopped at times to read the markers. I didn’t have deep thoughts, except that I remembered my uncle who served as a medic in Vietnam and died two years ago at the age of 63, his body riddled with cancer.

I have no clue what it’s like to fight for my country, but I realize there are so many (including a few in my family) who know exactly what it means to fight and also so many who fought and died in foreign wars. I was fortunate to grow up during peacetime. I’m thankful for those who performed their military duties and made the ultimate sacrifice. Their loss was my gain.

−The Armchair Golfer

Pro Golfers Who Served in WW II

(Image: Adam Bartlett/Flickr)