red, white, and blue
Memorial Day Weekend. All-American food on the BBQ, the first dip in the pool, and the return of white clothing. The calendar denotes the official start of summer as June 21, but for many, these three days marked the beginning of the summer season. In between perfectly curated shots of festive drinks and lazy afternoons by the pool, there were photos to acknowledge the real reason why we escaped Monday at the office. The fallen.
As I scrolled through the photos of Old Glory - she looked stunning in each - there was one in particular that grabbed me. Captioned "These colors don't fade!" the photo featured the 37,000 flags on the Boston Commons. Amidst all the other lines of recognition, there was a certain spirit behind these words. It was a declaration. One that captured the gratitude of Memorial Day better than all the rest.
When it comes to the military, "thank you" has always felt flat. Despite the words coming from a place deep within, they never seem to fully express my gratitude. Similar to "I'm sorry for your loss," they just can't convey the magnitude of the emotion behind them. The sentiment in that photo finally captured what I had been looking for. A promise. A promise that I haven't forgotten.
I spent the afternoon on hallowed grounds. Walking through Arlington National Cemetery is equally serene and sobering. In keeping with militaristic standards, it's immaculate. I can't imagine a more perfect final resting place for all those who died serving this country. Rolling hills of perfectly lined tombstones. Four hundred thousand. Each adorned with an American Flag (one boot length away) and a single red rose.
"These colors don't fade!" resounded in my head as I walked away from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Like the Honor Guard immortalizing those remains with constant vigilance, so too does the American Flag waving in the breeze. Flying in front yards, at major sporting events, and on the moon, the Colors do more than represent what our Nation stands for. The Colors represent a legacy. A legacy of brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
People forget. We need the calendar to remind us of birthdays, milestones, and holidays. Memorial Day might be reserved for the last Monday in May, but the Red, White, and Blue serve as our daily reminder. Freedom isn't free, and there will never be enough thank yous. Our greatest display of gratitude isn't in words, it's through remembrance. The colors won't fade, because we won't forget. We promise.