My friend and I went out for our usual walk this morning. I realize he is there for companionship, not to save my life. The conversation quickly turns to how hot it is, but it’s not nearly as hot as it gets in places like Iraq, the jungles of Southeast Asia, of PacificIslands like Guam. I wore my favorite walking shoes. Having worn my own set of combat boots in the past I can tell you for certain which of the two is by far the more comfortable. I’m in shorts and a T-shirt which are certainly less confining than fatigues and Kevlar in this heat.
As we trod along a fly starts pestering us, but it’s far easier to dodge away from a fly than from bullets. We pass a neighbor out doing yard work. We barely notice because there’s little chance she’s planning to rush us wearing a suicide vest. My son drives past on his way off to his summer job. We smile and wave at each other. I lament knowing that it’ll be evening before I get a chance to see my boy again. Meanwhile others must wait up to a year for their deployment to end before they can see their own child.
I feel comfortable in the knowledge that my journey will only last about an hour and then I’ll be home where I can rest. Others will have journeys that will take much longer and only ends once they’ve come home to be laid to rest. I don’t complain about my journey because even though I don’t always feel like doing it, I know it’s something that needs to be done. There are others who do what they are doing for the same reason.
It’s funny how something as simple as walking for a few miles can create a sense of relaxation, while others must now realize their greatest victories in the dreams of only a few steps. It’s important on this Memorial Day that we honor those who have given their all with parades, speeches, and the flying of our flag. It’s even more important that we remember and give thanks for the sacrifice of others during the simple times, like when we go out for a walk.