Last week I wrote about remembering to forget. This week is about not forgetting to remember. Veteran’s Day has passed for another year, but that doesn’t mean we stop honoring those who gave and give their lives in the service of our country and any other country seeking true freedom. They are heroes and their sacrifices and service deserve more than any medal could symbolize. They should be honored every day we are free to wake up and live our lives.
There are many other heroes to be found everyday still fighting. They are heroes that we must not forget until the calendar reminds us or the work schedule releases us for a longer weekend. After all, some warriors don’t get a weekend, a vacation day, or can call in sick from the battles and battlefields of their lives. They are warriors who wear no medals to distinguish their devotion but who have earned them nonetheless. Though their heroics may not be noticed by a holiday, or rewarded with a day off, they still give everything they have every day to make a difference. They know that being a hero is more than medals and their declaration of devotion to make a difference is more than any decoration could declare, or holiday honor enough for their courage and commitment on and off the battlefield.
Remember that there’s a hero inside of you, too. Don’t wait for a calling or a calendar to make a difference. There are people right now who need your heroic example, heroic friendship, heroic parenting and so many other battlefields and soldiers that need to know they’re not alone and that victory is still possible. It’s time for our declarations, not decorations in honoring these heroes. Don’t wait for a calendar to remind you to give thanks to a hero in your life. Yes, that includes you. You can be a hero today. Whatever battlefield you find yourself on, fight the good fight. And medal or no medal, parade and personalized parking space or not, you’re making a true difference and that’s the best reward of all.
So to all the heroes, to you; the students, graduates, interns, employees, single parents, single children, grandparents, foster parents, those who have lost a spouse or child; to the protectors, directors, kneelers and healers; the afflicted, addicted and those fighting depression, temptation, and indecision; to the lonely, the sick, the struggling, the dying, divorced and brokenhearted; to the doubting, pouting and any who are scared, scarred and have lost more than we will ever know; the abused, bullied, betrayed and those who are homeless but not heartless and anyone else who needs a hug and a hero, we stand for you and with you. You are not alone and you are not forgotten. This tribute is for you. Thank you.