” It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.“President Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
This speech, given one hundred and fifty-six years ago highlights still the unfinished work of honoring the bravery, and sacrifice of our veterans; those parents, children, grandparents, friends, neighbors, coworkers, spouses, and community workers who whether they volunteered or were conscripted, served the nations interests rather than their own.
To them, no matter their walk of life, the conflict they were or are assigned to, or their MOS (military occupational specialty), we owe the ever unfinished work of our gratitude and the expressions thereof.
Not everyone is called to serve. Not everyone can serve. There should be no judgment for nor expectation of it.
There should however be expectation by all, of honoring those who do serve; not only those who die in service (Memorial Day) but those who serve.
Those like me, who have not served, will never know or understand fully their service. Their sacrifices. Their pain. Their selflessness. Their longings. Their courage. Their solitude. Their commitment. Their obedience. Their patriotism.
We cannot fathom the depths of their memories, their losses, scars, and injuries, both physical and mental.
We little recognize the demons of survivors guilt, depression, or other PTSD symptoms.
We cannot count the number who have elevated rates of anxiety, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts.
To our veterans, who have given us safety, security and freedom, we owe honor, gratitude, and thanks. To those men and women who are currently serving, we owe the same.
We owe them honor not just with our words, but with our lifestyle.
Living a life that honors our republic. Honors our values. Honors our flag, the Constitution, our Bill of Rights. Living a life not only for our own interests, but for the best interests of our country. Living a life of respect through differences and obedience to laws. Living a life of self sacrifice for the greater good.
“It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated” to giving our veterans the honor that they deserve; with our lips and with our lives.
May we be about this unfinished work, not only this week, but throughout our lives and through the generations that will follow.
I proudly honor and respect:
Dennis “Doc” Chaney, Richard Olson, Andrew Chaney, David Olson, Wes Styles II, Kathy Olson, Sidney Shaw, Glen Foster, Joe Kiszeli, Zack (?Hanson), Aaron Partridge, and Ryan Garner.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your selflessness. We are forever indebted to you. Ryan, my prayers still ascend for you, your mission, call and safety.
Won’t you join me in seeking to complete the unfinished work of honoring our veterans?
Cheers to you.