Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Reason behind the Season

Memorial Weekend = extra day to have fun, right? Sadly for many of us, that's all it is.

I admit, I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now. An extra long weekend to grill, sleep in, head north, have fun with friends, whatever I want. It's an extra slice of heaven waiting for me on the calendar.

How easy it is to forget why it is we get that extra day off. Memorial Day is all about honoring those veterans who protected the very things we take for granted, those who paid the ultimate price and those who made it back with the physical and emotional scars.

Tonight a story on WILX helped put things back into perspective with a twist. The story was about homeless veterans here in Michigan, not only the challenges they face, but difficulties that exist for those trying to remedy the situation.

It's heartbreaking.

These men and women who give up years of their life to defend and protect the rest of us come back to society only to ill-treated, whether it be through medical care, psychological counseling, job placement, and financial assistance. It's wrong for any person, but it's only worse when it happens to any of our veterans.

The daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and granddaughter of two WWII Veterans, I've seen the pride in the eyes of a veteran to have served their country honorably, but I've also seen how combat forever affects the mind and soul. It's not uncommon for me to well up with tears at a sporting event as the National Anthem is played.

So enjoy your weekend and your extra day off. You probably deserve it. But just as with any holiday, take care to truly remember the reason behind the season. Take a moment to pause and reflect on those whose day it truly is and thank a veteran, not just on Monday, but on any day. We owe them more than we'll probably ever realize.

(Stay tuned as tomorrow I'll be featuring ways that you can help veterans locally, a story on how one veteran who wants to fight for you here in Michigan, and how our lawmakers are helping veterans all across the state.)