Every Day is Memorial Day
This reflection, written by USMC veteran Robert Tanner, written for OperationSupplyDrop.org was originally published on May 29, 2016
For the last 12 years, not a day goes by when I am not constantly reminded of the 8 fine Marines, my fellow Outlaws and brothers, I served with who lost their lives defending our country. When I hear a baby cry, I think of Private First Class Rodricka Youmans and Corporal Jeffrey Lawrence who were expecting fathers during our deployment to Fallujah, Iraq. Both discussed how they looked forward to coming home to meet the newest additions to their family. Instead, two little children are told only stories about how brave their fathers were. When I talk with career Marines whom are dedicated to their jobs, I think of Corporal Scott Vincent who was one of the most just and committed Marines I had ever encountered. When I hear a guitar strum, I envision Corporal Joshua WIlfong sitting outside the barracks on a weekend evening playing some Eric Clapton. When I hear a country song or hear a church bell ring, I picture Lance Corporal Timothy Creager talking about his church and telling us stories of being back home in Tennessee. When I hear a hearty laugh break through the silence, I can picture Lance Corporal Justin Hunt whose laugh was infectious and would make anyone smile. When I look down at my two little boys, I see Lance Corporal Scott Dougherty looking right back up at me with an innocent face and a smile readily available. And when I hear the waves crashing, hear a funny joke, or see someone crack a mischievous grin, I think of my good friend Lance Corporal Mark Engel who loved life and was always there to make people remember the positive, regardless of the situation.
Unfortunately, too often in life we take so much for granted. Every year, Memorial Day goes by and it seems to be less and less significant to the masses. Only a few truly appreciate its meaning because only a few had to live through it and continue to do so. Those of us that were fortunate enough to survive to keep the fallen’s memories alive don’t ask much of the masses. We do understand the BBQs and parties that are held on an annual basis. We do understand the massive amount of good food and drinks that are consumed. All we ask is that you don’t make this just another Hallmark holiday. Please understand the purpose behind your celebrations. It’s not because you have a day off from work or the start of the summer. It’s a celebration of the life that was and the life that you have been afforded. We that served with the fallen are reminded of their sacrifice on a daily basis. And for those few, those brave few, those fallen few, who gave so much, Memorial Day is their day to be appreciated by all. So, please, take just a moment of your day to think of them and the families they left behind. It’s the least you can do for those who gave it all.