I hear a lot about Memorial Day BBQs and opening of swimming pools. And while I think family get-togethers are awesome, I stop to wonder how many people actually realize what today symbolizes. Its not all about BBQs and summer. It's about those who have served our country, and for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I went to school with two young men, Jayton Patterson and Travis Youngblood. Both of these former schoolmates paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Jayton was a middle school classmate. We were in the middle school band together. I remember him as a quiet boy, yet a jokester. He did not finish high school with me. Instead, he went to a private school and I stayed in public school. He was a Sergeant (E-5) in the USMC. He died in January 2005 in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He left behind a wife and a 15 month old daughter (seen below).
Photo from the Virginian Pilot
I knew Travis more in passing than anything. I was in the same grade as his older brother. Travis was a Petty Officer 3rd Class and a medic in the Navy. Travis died in July 2005, 5 days after sustaining injuries in Hit, Iraq. He left behind a pregnant wife and a 4 year old son. If you are ever in the mood for a sob story, click here and read the stories written about his widow. Hearing about her giving birth after his death ripped my heart in two.
Here is a picture of his widow at his gravestone in Arlington National Cemetary as well as one of his kids at the gravestone.
Photo Credit Unknown
I hope that before you enjoyed your BBQ, that you stopped and said a silent prayer for or lifted up in thought, the families of our fallen soldiers, past and present. And that you said a thank you to those who have died for and protecting your freedom as well as those who continue to serve our great country.