Tomorrow is Memorial Day. In the US, it’s a day when we remember those who served our country and gave their lives in sacrifice so that we could enjoy freedom. I’m reminded of my father and father-in-law who served in the Marine Corps for 20+ years. They sacrificed and faced combat so that I, and millions of others, could enjoy freedom. I’m reminded of my grandfather who served in the Navy during World War II. He and my great Uncle Paul (Army) faced combat so that I could enjoy freedom, my granddad in the Pacific and my uncle in Europe.
Not all who serve are heroes. Some do it for the money. So do it because they want the pay and benefits. Still others do it because they don’t know what else to do. But there are those who serve(d) who are heroes. To me, my dad and granddad are heroes. They had other options. They weren’t in it for the money or the great retirement benefits. They were in it because they wanted to serve their country. And they did.
My dad passed away last May. I still miss him. Every day. I always called him on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. I thanked him for his service. I also called him every “regular” day to say “I love you” and thanks for being my dad. I was fortunate. He was proud of me. He sacrificed for me. And he loved me.
Memorial Day in the US is a time for cookouts and going to the beach, the lake, or the pool. It’s a time to visit cemeteries and graves of those we lost in service to our country. Today, I had it easy. I woke up in freedom. I had a doughnut (from downtown Chicago) and coffee. I went to church. I enjoyed the freedom to worship. I bought an iced coffee and enjoyed a taste of capitalism that my dad and granddad made possible. I went to church and enjoyed lunch with the pastor and his wife. I was able to do that because the men like my dad and granddad paid the price.
This evening, I grilled a dry-aged, prime, bone-in NY strip from a well-known Chicago butcher. It was fantastic! I also enjoyed homemade potato salad and cucumbers & onion (thanks Kelli!). Of course, I had watermelon too. What’s Memorial Day without watermelon?
The men and women who sacrificed for my freedom are remembered this Memorial Day weekend. It’s more than cooking out. It’s more than hamburgers and hotdogs. Its’ more than watermelon. It’s freedom. Freedom to worship. Freedom to enjoy capitalism. Freedom to dissent. Freedom to vote. Freedom to learn. Freedom!
I’m reminded this day of freedom and I’m thankful for it. My Scottish (Isle of Skye) genes (McQuain/McQueen and Douglas) remind me of what I enjoy. They remind me of what I’m thankful for. Freedom. You? What are you thankful for? Great leaders are thankful and they know what they are thankful for. Do you?
Hope you have a great week. Be sure to think about what you’re thankful for. And if it’s a person, tell them!
Dr. Robert Gerwig is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.
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