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Jim Golby @jimgolby
, 22 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
<Thread> #MemorialDay is my least favorite day of the year, and it has been for at least 14 years. I want it to be a day where I honor the lives of the brothers & sisters I’ve lost by celebrating with my friends & family, but I’m not there yet. And I’m not sure I ever will be. 1/
Im working on it. I know that every last one of them would want me, and all of us, to live & celebrate life & make the most of every fleeting minute we have with our friends and families. And they’d want us to be happy this weekend. 2/
But I never am happy on Memorial Day. I feel loss & pain & guilt & shame. I think about my brothers & sisters the whole weekend, and so often throughout the year. I wish they were still here with us. I miss them every day, but especially this weekend. 3/
Every year as a kid, my folks took me to a Memorial Day service at our local cemetery. The ceremonies were solemn, but the symbolism made it almost feel like a celebration. I didn’t, and I couldn’t, understand why the WWII & Korean & Vietnam vets choked back tears. I can now. 4/
I haven’t been to a Memorial Day service since my 1st deployment. I’m embarrassed about that, but I’ve felt the way my soul breaks every time the first shots of the 21-gun salute rip through the air at a funeral. I know I can’t keep it together. Maybe next year. Maybe not. 5/
But I don’t think any of my friends would care about whether I spent my morning at a memorial service. And I know that every last one of them would give me shit for mourning their loss & for crying. And sometimes imaging the things they’d say makes me laugh & smile. 6/
Yet I also still mourn & cry. A lot. Usually when no one can see. Because it’s still hard for me to understand why it was them & not me, and to know what their deaths were for. 7/
With time, though, I’m beginning to realize that the story of what their lives was for isn’t something that’s finished. It’s still being written, and it’s up to us to write it with our own lives every day. 8/
My former boss, @Martin_Dempsey , has spoken eloquently about how we can’t undo the past, but we can #MakeItMatter

If you haven’t heard him talk about this, you should now at the link below. 9/
LTG(Ret) @MarkHertling , who I think also worked for Dempsey, carries out a similar tradition. He calls us to #GoSilent (& does himself) and he remembers those he served with who sacrificed their lives while he commits to #MakeItMatter through his future actions 10/
All of us will #MakeItMatter in our own ways & some of us will #GoSilent, but I’ve got some thoughts I’d like to share about how we can honor the lives and sacrifices of the friends I’ve lost. About how we can #MakeItMatter

I’m speaking for myself, but I think they’d agree. 11/
If you’re a vet or service member struggling with PTSD, anxiety, or depression or other #MentalHealth issues this weekend or anytime, you’re not the only one. I’ve struggled w/ depression & I’ve thought about suicide. So has @iAmTheWarax & many others 12/…
Even if you’re not a vet, you might be struggling with loss, pain, or mental health issues. You might have lost someone too. The most powerful msg I’ve heard on loss/grief was when my former boss @JoeBiden talked to families of the fallen (@TAPSorg) 13/

Please reach out if you’re struggling. I wish I’d done so sooner than I did. If you don’t know who to talk to, my DMs are open.

We honor no one by giving up on our own lives. Some of its magic, some of its tragic, but its worth living & fighting. 14/
But @Susan_Hennessey says here, Making It Matter isn’t just about #MemorialDayWeekend or about us. It’s about our future commitments. 15/
So no matter what your views are or whether you support/oppose recent wars, participate in our democracy. Be informed. Exercise your free speech. Honor service members’ sacrifices by ensuring that every sacrifice we ask current/future service members to make is worth it. 16/
If you’re a civilian & you want to thank someone for their service this weekend, that’s ok but know it’s hard for some of us. Don’t be flippant. Ask questions & be willing to listen but know we might not be ready to talk. 17/
If you’re a vet or you’ve lost someone, don’t rant about how it’s inappropriate to say Happy Memorial Day or milsplain the difference between Memorial Day & Veterans’ Day. Be grateful for the support we have & share stories about your friends if you can. 18/
Talking about the brothers & sisters you’ve lost can be hard. It’s tough for me in some cases because I genuinely loved some of the friends I lost. It’s hard in others because a few of the people I lost could be real assholes & the last convo I had with one of them was shit. 19/
But one of the blessings I have is that every time I think about those I’ve lost (even the a-holes) is that I picture them smiling. In fact, the one time I had to personally eulogize one of my soldiers, I spent most of the time talking about his smile. It was so contagious. 20/
I know that every last one of them would want us to have a Happy Memorial Day. They’d want us to BBQ or go to the beach & celebrate their lives & their sacrifices with our friends & families. And just because I’m not ready to do that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. 21/
But you should also find time to reflect. To think about their sacrifices. To think about how you can, and how you will, #MakeItMatter

I’m pretty sure that would make the brothers & sisters I’ve lost happy, even on Memorial Day weekend. 22/22
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