The light fall of rain was just enough to hide the tears of those in attendance at the Elkin Memorial Day Celebration.
Most people think of Memorial Day as a time for grilling out with flags as an afterthought.
Spending time with friends and family is certainly worthwhile, and remembering to put out your flag is always a good idea no matter what time of the year, but Memorial Day is so much more.
We are lucky to be in a community that recognizes veterans faithfully, although we can always do a better job.
It’s not very often that I hear about people around here treating veterans poorly and many of the local businesses give discounts for veteran status.
Whereas every day we should recognize those who have served or are actively doing so, on Memorial Day we have the opportunity to take time to recognize the loss caused by service.
Although I never served myself, Memorial Day is a significant holiday to me. Because my grandpa’s best friend died in his place, he was able to return from war and become the man that I knew.
I am here because that soldier died.
Everything my grandpa did and taught us happened because that soldier died.
Out there somewhere another family had to go through the suffering of that loss because that soldier died.
When that soldier died, there was another kind of loss that I cannot help but recognize on Memorial Day.
Because sometimes the greatest sacrifice is living after loss.
Many people come back from their service changed individuals.
You can’t help but be different when you see those things in combat. You should be different after you have done what you must do in combat.
Some of the soldiers did not lose their ability to breathe, but they did lose their lives. They lost their families. They lost years of their children’s development. They lost the ability to believe that people were basically good. They lost their ability to believe in themselves.
There is not a soldier who hasn’t lost something.
So as much as I appreciate those service people who lost their lives in combat, today I want to say thank you to those who lost other things. For those unrecognized challenges you have and are overcoming know that you are appreciated.
Whether you served in Vietnam or Afghanistan, Kuwait or Korea, welcome home.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.