Remembering Sacrifice

By Rep. Mike Sanders

In our American Idol culture, it seems the focus of Memorial Day has gotten misplaced.

Memorial Day is a day of solemn remembrance of those men and women who gave their lives defending our nation by serving in the armed forces. This is a debt the rest of us can never repay, even as we enjoy the reward of freedom reaped by this sacrifice.

While some may treat this holiday as just another day off work or a good chance to grill a burger, I know many of my friends in Western Oklahoma will start the day at the local cemetery, placing flags or flowers on the graves of friends and loved ones who served in our nation’s military.

We’ll stand alongside the well-weathered men and women in their Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion caps. We’ll bow our heads as they offer a prayer and involuntarily flinch as they fire off their salutes to honor their fallen friends.

The flags we place will be small and won’t weigh much physically, but in spirit they will bear the weight of gratitude and tears shed from knowing we didn’t have to make this sacrifice. We get to go home later this day and enjoy time with our spouses and children, with family and friends. After these moments of grief shared, we get to laugh and enjoy just being alive.

When we leave the gravesides of the veterans to whom we’re indebted, our peace will come from knowing they are in a better place – one of eternal joy and rest, where every tear is dried and every wound suffered is made whole.

I’m praying that on this day we walk a little slower in true remembrance of all of our blessings. I pray we walk a little taller, willing to bear the responsibility of keeping liberty for the next generation. I pray we walk a little straighter, more sure of our God-given purpose in this one life on earth that we have to live. I pray we walk a little more humble, thankful now more than ever for the sacrifice of others that keeps us free.

God bless all this Memorial Day who have suffered the loss of a loved one in defense of our nation’s freedom. Thank you for your sacrifice. I do not take it for granted.

In my next column I will discuss our state’s budget plan, but for this column I wanted to take the time to acknowledge our veterans and their families on Memorial Day.

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