Special Memorial Day Message From Trading For Keeps

Good morning.

On this Memorial Day, I’m sharing the words of my dear friend John who I served with in combat a lifetime ago.

His words have been lightly edited for clarity and flow.

“People often ask me,  

‘Do you think we should be there?’

‘Did you lose anyone?’

‘What’s it like?’

‘You’re crazy!’

‘Why’d you go?’

‘John, Stop.’

I now have an answer to all those questions. My answer is … it doesn’t matter.

Politics… 

Opinions… 

Right or wrong … it doesn’t matter! 

America went to war, she asked for volunteers. So I went. My brothers, cousins, and friends followed.

When bullets fly, the little things go out the window. War is violent, bad things happen.

We kicked in the doors of families, I watched friends get hurt. I was forced to witness the aftermath of my actions.

It all hurts.

War hurts. The ones that go don’t always come back—the ones who do come home just aren’t the same.

Today isn’t about me or the ones still standing though. Today is a day to remember our fallen. They are the real heroes. 

Remember their mothers and the family they left behind.

Think of the young wife with a baby on her hip, pounding on the ground in tears. Think of the pain she felt watching their husband’s flag-draped casket while she clenched the set of dog tags hanging from her neck.

And the emptiness she’s left with as a man hands her a folded flag and says, ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’

Today is for the mother crying at her son’s boots, rifle, and helmet, asking ‘why?’

And the one screaming, ‘why did you leave me?’

Today is about those who have the courage to sacrifice all for you. They fought for your friends, your sons, and your daughters.”

Today remember the fallen. And honor the families they left behind.

General Patton once said,

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.”

With that, I wish you a Happy Memorial Day,

Michael Johnson
Sergeant USMC
(active 2003-2008)

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