Today was a different Memorial Day for me, this past year a young man that I’ve known since he was born was killed in Afghanistan. Major Thomas Kennedy left behind a wife, two babies, his parents, and many friends. Tommy was a graduate of West Point and that entire community mourned with a series of ceremonies that showed how loved and respected he was to hundreds of soldiers, relatives and friends. Suddenly the casualties of war were more than just a horrible number that was mentioned on TV or the newspaper. Suddenly it was someone who I hadn’t seen in years (I moved when he was young), but someone whose Mom & Dad had been my friends, a man who was still friendly with my children, and who I could remember playing on the street in front of my house. This death was real for me, and tragic for his family.
With Tommy’s death, suddenly Memorial Day was more than just a great day to go shopping for summer clothes, and the local parade had more meaning. I had always cared about the men and women who gave their lives in these wars, but now I have a deeper understanding and care as I think about the family they have left behind and the sorrow that can never be erased.
If you or your family have experienced this tragedy, my heart goes out to you. If you are now in the military, or you have been in the past, I want to thank you for your sacrifice. My prayer is for the safety of our soldiers and their safe return to the people who wait for them with love.
Wishing you well,