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It's Friday afternoon, the start of the Memorial Day Weekend. All the remembrances, all the ceremonies, will be different this year because of the pandemic. Fewer speeches, less time gathering together, hopefully no parades that violate physical distancing. 1/8
Many of us will still see the faces of our fellow soldiers, still remember their names, will still continue to think - and sometimes have nightmares about - those who are missing from their dinner tables and their loved ones’ lives. We will still remember & offer a toast. 2/8
This is a special time. Our citizens might reflect on those who have worn the cloth of our country, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.  I'll be doing that, paying particular attention to 247 soldiers, 2 airmen,1 sailor & 1 ally under my command who gave their all. 3/8
I actually think of them every old they would be now, how they might be relishing in their childrens' graduation, or their spouses' successes. What they might be doing now, how they might have changed. But their pictures are frozen as young 20 yr olds. 4/8
Interestingly, this year I'll also be thinking of healthcare professionals…those who I've had the honor of serving with since retiring in 2013. Like soldiers, those in healthcare dedicate their lives to something bigger than themselves. 5/8
During a time of much turmoil, our healthcare providers have addressed the COVID19 pandemic & contributed to easing the suffering of so many. We should also pause and remember them...some who gave their last full measure serving their fellow citizens, just like our soldiers. 6/8
A toast to those, my brothers & sisters in arms who gave their all...and a special thanks to those who wear scrubs as a uniform, who don PPE as body armor, who face a different kind of threat and danger. Thanks to all who put their fellow citizens first. 7/8
This is the box I keep on my desk, with photos of those who served with me and who gave their all. Two others have this same box & we will all be going through it this weekend, focusing on what's engraved on the outside and the memories on the inside. 8/8
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