For many Americans Memorial Day is just an informal start to the summer season. It is an opportunity to take the day off of work and have a barbecue with friends and family. We appreciate our American traditions and are grateful for a day of relaxation and reflection. For Marines, there is no confusion about the purpose of Memorial Day. We observe Memorial Day to remember our dead. To honor their memory.
An old and honorable brotherhood of warriors
We are an old and honorable brotherhood of warriors, having sworn an oath to defend our country, our people, and our way of life. That oath is sacred, and we fulfill that oath not as individuals, but as a unit and as a team. Every Marine has pledged to defend his fellow Marine and citizen with his own life if necessary. We know that when we fall, be it on the battlefield or not, we will never be forgotten by our brothers.
Marines are often the first to answer the call to fight in our nation’s wars and conflicts and are often the first to fall in combat. No one wants to die in combat, but as Marines we accept that risk. To fall during combat is to give our lives for something greater than ourselves. It’s a risk we gladly accept. We do not fear death.
Remember the Fallen
This particular Memorial Day we’d like to remember another group of fallen Marines whose memories remain with us forever; our brothers lost to suicide. It’s no secret the number is much higher than the 22 suicides/day estimated by the Veterans Administration. As a community we need to support our brothers in their struggles no matter what the severity. Our promise is one of eternal fidelity. When one of our brothers feels like he is alone and on his own; we as a community haven’t lived up to that promise.
You are not forgotten. You are not alone.
As we remember our heroic comrades who were killed in battle, let us honor their memory by keeping our promise to our brothers who are still here.
To our brothers we say: You are not forgotten. You are not alone.