Memorial Day is a traditional American holiday, but it is an international recognition. It is not exclusively the remembrance of American warfighters, but rather, all those who fought for the greater good. In an era where mankind is truly, and finally, working towards the same common goal of peace, this is an effort that is just as much overseas as it is internal to the US.
“Don’t tell me how he died. Tell me how he lived.”
I didn’t know Murph. But I knew men like him.
And if they were here today to speak to us, I believe their words would fall in line with the meaning of that quote. How it’s less about what they did, but why they did it.
When we look back at Murph’s life, we can see that he lived by a code of honor. Of dedication, to those he cared about. His nickname, as some of you may know, was fittingly, “The Protector”.
What many don’t know however is that this name was not given to him from his actions in Afghanistan that day. Wasn’t even from the military. It was from when he was a kid, in middle school, when he stood up to a bully who was picking on his friends. Shortly after that, in his teenage years, he continued that code as he became a lifeguard, overseeing the local public as they swam at the local lake. More years passed by, and he continued that code, leading our nation’s finest into battle as a Navy SEAL.
All of his life, Murph believed in giving what he could, with what he had.
And we go back to that question – what would “Murph” say if he were here?
If he were here today to speak to us, I don’t believe he would want us to feel pity for him. I think it would be the opposite. I think it would be a request, for action.
To continue to carry the torch forward.
To give what we can, with what we have.
To help a friend in need.
To help a stranger in need.
To go the extra mile for someone, well knowing it’s more work on ourselves, and that it very well may not come back to us. But doing it anyways. Regardless of how seemingly small the act may be. In that moment we sometimes forget how powerful offering a hand to a stranger can be. But those actions are contagious. It’s called changing the echos. It always starts with something small. Something that seems insignificant. Something easy to do, but easier, not to do. Yet it snowballs, and can change an entire society. That is, if we can only start it.
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy
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