|what are you teaching your kids about Memorial Day?
I guess it probably depends on how old they are.
Mine? They are 5 and 3 - so they don't quite "get it" yet.
But still - it's so important that they know what this day means.
For me - this day makes me remember.
It makes me remember how shitty some of my time was in Afghanistan.
It makes me think about wearing 70 pounds of gear in 120 degree heat.
About getting heat rash - that feeling of knives cutting into your skin every time your body armor moved.
About being so thirsty, that drinking near boiling water from my camelback was a relief.
About not sleeping for days at a time.
About pulling midnight guard shift.
About the familiar green haze of looking through night vision goggles.
About the sound of an IED going off.
About getting shot at.
About digging up pressure plate mines.
But mostly when I think about Afghanistan, I think about coming home.
About stepping on that sweet US soil and being so thankful.
It makes me think about seeing my wife after stepping off the plane, in that beautiful red dress.
About having that first sip of beer.
About all the things I've done since then.
And today - it makes me think about how so many of my friends, and those that have come before - never got to come home.
They died in that hellscape.
And they died for me.
They died for you.
They died so that we can continue on, building this amazing place we call the US.
So what am I teaching my kids?
Well... not about the horrors of war... they're 5 and 3...
But I am teaching them what today stands for.
I'm teaching them that a lot of men and women never came home from war.
That today we honor them.
We thank them.
It's because of them that we are able to enjoy our freedom.
And we say their names out loud.
Because they may have taken their last breath in a far off distant land.
But they're not going to die their second death for a thousand years.
So - as you're relaxing today - taking the day off - honor these men and women.
Be thankful for their sacrifice.
And say their names.