Over this Memorial Day weekend I've spent a lot of time watching documentaries about our nation at war.
Particularly there was a lot of real-life footage of World War II along with real person commentary from veterans of that global conflict.
But there is plenty of information out there about all our country's conflicts and it would do us all good to read them. It is one thing to talk about the spilled blood, the lost lives, and the sacrifices made by others on our behalf. But when you see the pictures and hear the details of the unimaginable horrors experienced by those in combat and the courage and suffering they had to live with daily it becomes more than just platitudes or cliches.
Every war is the same. The constant fear, the smell of death, the sights of dismembered and maimed bodies, the burden of having to take lives and to see one's best friends die horrible deaths right beside you. The horrific sights and sounds. The rigors of living in conditions most would not even want to venture into. The constant heat, cold, rain and dryness. Marching, eating and sleeping in mud and sand and blood and water.
The depravation of even the basic necessities. The separation from family, friends and loved ones, usually for long periods of time. And, of course, the ever present danger of losing life and limb. These are things we ask our military to do on our behalf.
Situations that only those who have lived and died in can truly comprehend. And yet they do it, and because they do it our country remains the greatest on earth.
War truly must be the closest thing to hell on earth mankind can bring upon ourselves. But it has been a fact of life since the dawn of the human race. The blood and DNA of these brave warriors is within us. Perhaps the best way to honor them is to take a deep look inside ourselves. When we see what they have endured to ensure our liberty, we owe it to them to preserve and treasure it. To respect what we have and work together so that this great nation remains the one they suffered and died to protect.
If they can do what they did, surely, we can work together to get through any obstacles we face and build a more perfect union.
Just saying thanks on memorial day is not enough. We need to live their legacy every day.