Many in my family served in the armed forces and the intelligence community. While I prefer other solutions to our greatest challenges I recognize there are times when nothing less than a military response is required. I am grateful and beholden to those who step in harm’s way, on our soil or overseas, to ensure we are safe. This includes members of the military, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.

I recently watched Underfire, the Untold Story of Pfc Tony Vaccaro. It is a powerful inside look inside the experience of war, told through the eyes of an Italian-American combat solider and photographer. Vaccaro landed on Omaha Beach 6 days after the Normandy invasion and spent the next 272 days fighting on the front lines of the war. He entered Germany in December 1944, a private in the Intelligence Platoon, tasked with going behind enemy lines at night. When he wasn’t firing his gun, he was taking pictures. “When I was not on a night mission, I processed my films in four army helmets and hung the wet negatives from tree branches to dry.” He took almost 8,000 photographs – intimate, sometimes brutal, pictures of life as a combat soldier. I recommend this documentary highly. The link is

What happens on the battlefield and in crises at home is beyond the pale of most everyone’s day-to-day existence. Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who not only stepped forward, but fell as they took a stand for the rest of us.

I recommend perusing the website of the nonprofit, Carry the Load. They will take you one giant step toward the real meaning of Memorial Day.

“Fear not that ye have died for naught.
The torch ye threw to us we caught.
Ten million hands will hold it high,
And Freedom’s light shall never die!”
– RW Lilliard