As Memorial Day approaches, the media is always flooded with sad stories meant to remind us why we celebrate. But of all that I've read this week, there's really just one that's stood out. An Army couple went out on duty in Iraq. Only one of them came back.
But it wasn't that they were any more important than any other serviceman or woman. Max and Kim Voelz were members of the Army's elite bomb squad, it's true, but every soldier, sailor, airman, etc. is important. No, what struck at my heart was Kim's age.
When she went out to diffuse an explosive device back in 2003, she was just 27 years old. The device took her life, took Max's wife away, and made her one of the many men and women who died in the line of duty who we will honor on Monday, on Memorial Day.
That's what we forget about Memorial Day. That it's about people who die in the line of duty. That soldiers, sailors, airman, bomb diffusers aren't elderly folks who have lived a good, long life and are ready to go to the great beyond. No, the average age of an active duty serviceman or woman is just 28 years old.
Just 28! My father was just becoming a dad at 28! Kim Kardashian is older than that, and she's still a "young starlet." Kim Voelz didn't even make it that far.
On Monday many of us will head out to local parades and memorial services led by our local VFW branches. If the faces leading the service look anything like those in my neck of the woods, they will be weathered, old, wise, men and women who served our country, who carry the image in the back of their minds of seeing comrades lost in battle way too soon. They'll be there to help us remember them.
So this Monday, look past those older faces -- don't worry, they'll get their due in a few months, it's called Veterans Day. They deserve our thanks too, but what they want know is our help remembering. That's what Memorial Day is about.
How will you be celebrating this holiday?
Image via cwwycoff1/Flickr