Archive for the ‘Memorial’ tag
The title of today’s post was the subject line to an email I sent several months ago after an honest, yet important, mistake.
At the time a number of my readers suggested that I write about the entire affair as a bit of a case study, but I wanted to give it some time in an effort to also give it some perspective. (I do it share below)
Over the last few days I’ve witnessed some highly public stumbles and they’ve reminded me that there’s a right way and wrong way to handle adversity.
The real time publishing world of email and Twitter make it so much easier to make a mistake and so much easier for the world at large to amplify it and draw near to observe how you respond.
I’ve always contended that mistakes are a part of life, it’s how you handle them and what you learn from them that tell the true measure of success.
First, the wrong way to handle mistakes
Few things annoy and infuriate more than lack of ownership. In a recent very public case a company failed to pay attention to the horrific nature of a trending hashtag and used its popularity only as way to promote. The mistake was enormous and careless. The initial response was to push the blame off on a vendor and this only served to fan the flames of outrage.
One of the keys to quick recovery from a misstep is taking immediate responsibility, saying I’m sorry and going to work on demonstrating why it won’t happen again. People may still be upset, but they will start to move forward.
What makes recovery from an obvious blunder hard for many is that it also requires a history of not making mistakes. When people can point to a total body of work that demonstrates care for truly serving the needs of a market, they can look past or even ignore when you veer of course.
It’s a lot like a bank account. If you make frequent deposits, you’ll have a balance from which to make the occasional withdrawal.
In fact, many mistakes come at the hands of acting in self-serving ways rather then acting on behalf of those you serve. When you constantly consider the best interest of your customers, you’ll have the compass that keeps you out of frequent errors in judgment and allows you to recover more easily when the inevitable occurs.
And now my little case study
First off, know that sharing this isn’t that easy and I do it because I think there is learning to be had.
Over this past Memorial Weekend in the United States I decided to have a product sale and wrapped my email announcing it in fond memories of my youth. In my household Memorial Weekend was the official start of summer and included a huge gathering of family and friends to revel in a day of playing softball, volleyball and basketball between bouts of eating.
Here’s the original email:
I love Memorial Day and because of that I’m giving you a chance to grab our signature business-building program at 50% off, but only until Monday at midnight! Click here to take advantage of this offer.
But first, here’s why I love Memorial Day.
When I was growing up Memorial Day was the weekend where my parents would go to Sears or JC Penny and get us new shorts, shoes, baseball mitts and whatever else it was going to take to get us through the summer.
It was the official start of summer, but for a kid with nine siblings, it was a lot like Christmas. I always remember the sale flyers and catalogs that would come to the house during the weeks leading up to Memorial Day.
It’s a great holiday for small business owners too because it’s a great time to promote the kick off of summer and all the fun and changing needs that come with that.
When I was growing up Memorial Day was also the biggest party of the year for my family. We lived in a farm community with lots of land and we would invite hundreds of people to come eat chicken and watermelon and play softball, basketball, soccer and horseshoes until we dropped.
The entire weekend was one great big celebration.
So, for this entire weekend I want to celebrate all the brave, hardworking, loyal, innovative and creative small business owners out there by running a 50% off the Duct Tape Marketing System Sale that starts right now until Monday at midnight in the Central Time Zone.
I’ve never offered this price for Duct Tape System, complete with 13 lessons including online videos, audios, workbooks, forms and examples and I probably never will again!
Take advantage of this Memorial Day Sale today and grab a little time to yourself this weekend to dig in and plan your new marketing strategy and tactical action plan to grow your business.
Click here to purchase the Duct Tape System for 50% off.
In addition to the entire system you’ll also get:
• 30 days of email support
• Monthly Q&A calls with me
• 30 minute consulting session
• Full money back guarantee (even during the sale)
• Learn more about the Duct Tape System here
I’ve worked with small business owners for many years now and I love seeing what they can do once they understand the power of a marketing system.
Go check out the details and get on your way to ramping up your sales and taking control of your marketing – at ½ price until Monday night!
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!
Duct Tape Marketing
Shortly after I sent this email out a couple responses trickled back in suggesting that I had made a mistake by ignoring the true meaning of this holiday as a somber memorial to those who had given their lives in service of our country.
In the online world readers will frequently express their opinions so I don’t react to every bit of feedback, but this one bothered me. After I received six or seven I felt horrible. Obviously, I had made a mistake and I wanted to acknowledge what many more must have been feeling and apologize to any that had taken offense to my omission.
This email was hard to send, as I noted in the text, because it did serve to highlight the mistake and even infuriated a handful more. My opt outs for this day were the highest I had ever experienced, but something almost magical started to occur as well.
Here’s the follow-up email:
I sent out an email earlier today announcing a Memorial Day sale, but I made a significant mistake unintentionally.
I hesitate to send a follow-up message like this because in a way it simply highlights the mistake and perhaps irritates more readers.
The mistake was not a broken link or typo but one of intention.
Memorial Weekend is obviously a time set aside in the US to remember those that have fallen in service of our country. The fact is, that aspect of the Holiday has not directly touched my family and the Holiday has always had more of a celebration aspect to it for me.
In my email I focused on that aspect in an attempt to have a light and fun tone for what I thought was a great offer.
I did not make any mention of the real purpose of this Holiday and for that I was wrong and simply mistaken. I apologize to anyone that I offended as I know this Holiday for many is very much a sacred time of remembrance.
I hope those of you that have subscribed to my newsletter or read my blog for any amount of time will consider the total body of my work and passion for helping small business and see my last email for what it was – an unthoughtful oversight.
Thanks for listening.
PS – I have a niece and nephew returning home from Afghanistan this weekend and do intend to celebrate their safe return!
By the time the day was over I received over 300 emails from readers thanking me for taking such quick action, forgiving any misstep based on years of giving and many humbling responses of pure support.
Here are a few snippets:
Your explanation, which serves as a reminder to all of us about the true meaning of Memorial day, is a genuine touch of class. I admire you all the more now.
You did the right thing to say you are sorry. The honesty of your email is very refreshing. The celebration of our lost loved ones is important too. I lost my beloved brother in The Vietnam War. He would have been 76 on June 6th. Thank you for your help.
Anyone who knows you, and especially those of us combat veterans that know you, would never think you were being unthoughtful.
I have no idea what would have happened had I not sent the second email, but I think the key to handling mistakes comes not from considering what will or won’t happen, but considering how to repair or rebuild the trust essential to a healthy relationship – whether that’s with one person or an army of readers.
All in all this mistake served as a great teaching moment for me and I share it only with the notion that it serve as such for others.
- Keep your customers best interest in mind in all decisions
- When you make a mistake own it and apologize authentically
- Know that people can look past mistakes, but only if ask them to
- Have faith in your tribe, they’ll come to your support if you’ve built trust
- Mistakes can have a tremendously positive outcome when you take the right action
One final thought and I went back and forth as whether I should put this out there due to the fact that some will misinterpret, but I think it’s a key learning that has to be part of this story.
That weekend sale turned out the be by far the single greatest product sale I’ve ever experienced in ten years of selling products and services online. I believe the bit of controversy and reaction from the community to the response served to greatly highlight what was already a very good promotion.
Now, I’m not suggesting for one minute that any part of a promotion could involve a calculated mistake. The only reason I share this is to suggest that you shouldn’t fear owning up to a mistake and sincerely going to work on repairing any damage without consideration of time or cost, because sometimes the way you handle a mistake or fix a problem can make clients more loyal than simple day to day satisfaction.
Five months ago, Russ Hearl had a friend pass away suddenly. Hearl found out about it on Facebook, and, going to the friend’s profile page, found several comments that he had posted the very day he died.
That’s when he decided there needed to be a better way to memorialize a fallen Facebook friend.
“I asked myself what really happens to someone when they pass away … and what happens to their profile?” Hearl told VentureBeat. “And, is Facebook the right place to remember them?”
(We’ve considered this question before on VentureBeat … and in fact there have been occasions in which Facebook has declared someone dead a little prematurely.)
Hearl didn’t want to create what he calls a “lame memorial site” at Legacy.com or Tributes. Legacy.com powers the obituaries of many local newspapers and charges about $50/year for a memorial site. Tributes offers a one-photo page, with an obituary, for $10 in perpetuity.
But Hearl decided that Facebook was indeed the right place: the place where many people have lived most of their online lives.
“I really wanted to create a separate space within Facebook to celebrate the lives of those who have passed away.”
So he founded Evertalk. As of today the app has been live on Facebook for about four weeks, and users have created 3,000 memorials.
VentureBeat spoke to Hearl about the new Facebook app.
“One of the things that has astonished us is how many memorials have been created for celebrities,” Hearl says. “People like Rodney King, Whitney Houston.”
Using functionality already in Facebook, Evertalk allows bereaved users to create photo and video pages, as well as a guestbook. In addition, since funeral and often medical expenses can make the difficult times around the passing of a loved one even more difficult, Evertalk includes an option for a donations page.
“The app works 100 percent within Facebook,” Hearl told VentureBeat. “A lot of people don’t want to leave Facebook.”
There are other options for memorials and obituaries on Facebook, including Legacy.com’s My Memorials and a number of very underutilized obituary apps. Many, like Memorial Candles, appear to be down or discontinued. Evertalk has a very real shot of standing out in this unimpressive competition.
Another option is just leaving the profile up, as is. I know one family who do exactly that for their deceased father. And, every year, his profile comes alive with whispered prayers … messages in a bottle. It’s moving and meaningful.
For those who want a more defined memorial, however, Evertalk is free to install, and users can, of course, browse the memorials for free.
Those who wish to publish a page can choose either a $2/month plan, or a $29/year plan, which allows unlimited memorial creation. Both offer the first month free. Also, a coming freemium plan will allow completely free memorials, if Evertalk can sell virtual flowers on your page.
Image credit: Ken Kistler/ShutterStock
Japanese in Tokyo recently celebrated a Hotaru (in English, “firefly”) Festival by lighting up the Sumida River with 100,000 softball-sized, blue LED balls.
The balls drifted slowly down the river, creating a glowing blur when viewed from afar. They were powered by the sun, and they were collected by a large net at the end of their route.
The Firefly Festival, which celebrates those magical little insects whose glowing butts are mesmerizing to us human types, is a fairly new fête tacked onto the end of Japan’s Golden Week, which contains such national holidays as Greenery Day, Children’s Day, and Constitution Memorial Day. The holiday has its roots in 17th-19th century traditions of catching fireflies by the Sumida in spring; fireflies are no longer found along the banks of the Sumida, which today winds through the center of a global metropolis.
Panasonic provided the orbs, which also functioned as an opportunity for the corporation to promote its LED lightbulbs.
How did your post-Memorial Day Weekend week go? I hope well. In anticipation of the weekend, here are links and resources shared on Twitter and tagged #practicalmktr grouped here together in Practical Simple Marketing In The News.
Practical Marketing Advice
- Advice on how to use Google+ fr @GuyKawasaki ow.ly/b1ZZJ #practicalmktr
- How ecommerce product pages help drive sales: 6 #practicalmktr tips http://ow.ly/b20ok
- H2 build brands by photo sharing: it’s not about selling! http://ow.ly/bbcSW #practicalmktr
Simple Marketing Inspiration
- Do you subscribe to the ‘simplicity thesis’? http://ow.ly/b20CW fr @FastCo #practicalmktr
- Via @mirror_comms: Google Finally Puts Zagat to Good Use shar.es/qJSnf
Brands Being Practical With Social Media
- Four Seasons Hotel leans on social to act local. Details: ow.ly/b1Z7z #practicalmktr
- J&J’s priorities for 2012: social, mobile: ow.ly/b1ZVq #practicalmktr
- Creative use of internet & social to connect with ‘customers’: Maine Convent recruits nuns: ow.ly/b20dI #practicalmktr
- UN Global Pulse monitors data for real-time signals re: food, economy, jobs 19 min video http://ow.ly/bbcrc #practicalmktr
Here’s a link to previous editions of Practical Simple Marketing In the News.
Thank you for reading!
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Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of my best friend, Charlie O’Brien. His daughter Michelle and I have started a Facebook Page to commemorate this sad milestone and to share photos and memories. Charlie was my mentor and editor, but he did not live to see me write my first book, something he had urged me to do for many years. Ten years have passed and sometimes an entire day goes by withut my feeling the hollowness caused by missing my best friend.
Shortly after he died, his family held a memorial service for Charlie, in a tent near the water in Quincy, Massachusetts. Some of us read eulogies. I worked hard on mine. I wanted to capture the spirit of our friendship and the story it told. Perhaps I’ll write that book some day. Carlie would like that I think.
Here’s what I wrote ten years back:
“Finally, I have the last word. After 37 years, I’m free of O’Brien’s editing. He can’t hammer me with a: “Jesus Christ, Israel, just cut to the bloody chase.” No more will Charlie tell me to move a graph up here, make a chop there. When I’m done speaking today, he doesn’t get his chance to turn to you and say: “What really happened
Charlie would have enjoyed today. To him, family and friends were as good as it got. Can’t you just picture him sitting here, listening– shaking his head side-to-side, tugging a beer, toking a cigar waiting his turn, saying a paucity of words, both wise and irreverent.
I wish this were a roast, but it is not.
For nearly 40 years, Charlie O’Brien and I laughed together, often at the expense of one of us or the other. Jousting was essential to our relationship almost to the end. So was humor. Hiking three years ago at
Tahoe, we sat drying on a rock after he had guided us into a snow drift. Earlier, that day, he had demanded that I accept he was going to die which was tough and for that reason, we had been hiking mostly in
silence until Charlie guided directly into a waist deep snowdrift.
As we sat there, I asked him if he had any wisdom to
impart–something he now saw that he had not understood before… Some
pearl to leave behind.”
He thought for a moment. “I might have been wrong about the
vitamins,” he said with the straightest of faces, then he gazed
pensively out at the Lake. Charlie, over the years, had fanatically
consumed entire alphabets of Vitamin pills, using a vile protein
concoction as his chaser.
Three years later, I would be sitting on a barstool next to Charlie
for the last time. Cancer and its so-called treatments had reduced him
to sipping soft drinks through straws. By contrast, I was downing his favorite droughts at a steady pace. There was a chance, he told me, that he’d be taking medical marijuana pills. The juxtaposition of
preferred recreational substances would become our last good laugh. He would die three weeks later in the company of people who loved him.
I cannot believe he’s really gone. I expect to see him at any minute. I picture him packing for yet another trip. Charlie loved, LOVED to travel.
Our travels and misadventures together were legendary. They began in 1968 with a hike up a New Hampshire mountain. Of course we got lost and I swear it was his fault. Over the years we probably took more than 40
trips together, many on extended Thanksgiving weekends.
There were three rules for the annual trips:
(1) It had to be an adventure.
(2) It had to be cheap.
(3) It had to be new.
Cheap fell away first. Then, we repeated a few destinations, but the adventures were always unique.
We did amazing things.
We hiked the Grand Canyon, when I was 50 and he was 55, in a single day. We dived in the Seychelle Sea Caves in Mazatland’s Mayan Jungle, meeting locals who lived in thatched huts and communicated by cell
phone. We kayaked to a desert island on the Sea of Cortez where a monsoon marooned us for three days. We snuck into Cuba and spent two unsuccessful days searching for an authentic Cohiba Cigar staying in
the National Hotel, once owned by the Chicago mob. We visited Death Valley, where Charlie duped me into watching a ‘pantomime ballet performed by a 75-year-old pot-bellied hag dancing to opera on a
wind-up Victrola. We laughed so hard we had to go out side to pee.
Sailing to Catalina Island on “Manana,” the boat we owned together—actually the stern still said “Kewtie Pie– with a ‘K,’ because we never got around to replacing the sissy name the previous owners had given her– we hit a storm and I snarled the jib. We would have motored in but Charlie had bought another cheap
battery that–just like the last cheap battery– died. Ten-foot waves were breaking across our stern and we were losing our heading. Charlie shrugged and said it was a fine day to die, but it turned out to be a
better one to live.
One time, we were drinking in an Ensinada, Mexico dance hall, where locals paid ten pesetas to fox trot with Indian women and Charlie almost had me convinced that I really wanted to eat the worm, when Federales with loaded and pointed machine guns suddenly appeared, lining up everyone up against the wall for a search except for us two gringos at the bar who thought it wisest not to mention that the bad guys had ducked into the woman’s room and crawled out the window.
The last moment of the last night of most jaunts were usually savored on some hotel balcony overlooking outrageous beauty. We’d share cigars, cognac, philosophy and humor. “Great trip,” Charlie would
conclude–then fall asleep in his chair with drink in hand. We had already planned our next Thanksgiving trip. We were going to follow the route of the Civil War from Gettysburg to Shiloh when cancer ended
Charlie’s versions of these stories and mine were almost always at
odds. It doesn’t matter whose were more accurate. Often, we were both
too loaded to know. We shared huge chunks of life together. They were
among the best of my life.
I met O’Brien in 1967 at the Quincy Patriot Ledger’s West edition
office. He was an editor and I a reporter. I applied to be his #2.
Everyone thought I was the worst possible choice, and they were
probably right. But Charlie swung the bat for me and I got the job. We
sat facing each other from midnight to dawn, five nights a week for
nearly four years. We got to know each other in eight-hour doses. He
was my boss but became my friend and eventually the best friend I would
We were adventure companions and sailing buddies. As roommates for two years we were the oddest of couples. He was my mentor and surrogate big brother. Our adventures nearly killed us a couple of times. We
nearly got arrested a couple other times, or into a brawl or two in seedy, foreign places. We laughed lots and argued a fair amount. He understood who I was but liked me anyhow.
He was always calm–even facing death. Most perils, he described as “a bit hairy.” He called cancer, “the luck of the draw.”
He gave me the two things I need most—encouragement and shit. He gave a lot of people encouragement. He saved the shit for a select few of us. His encouragement pointed me toward the top and his shit stopped
me from going over it.
Charlie taught me about life and living; about death and acceptance. He taught me ethics without preaching, about tolerance without suffering assholes and about patience even if I wouldn’t get to the bloody point.
Charlie usually put his focus on other people. He was always non-assuming. I never knew him to betray a secret. He contrived little custom rituals with people he liked. He became my wife Paula’s cooking
assistant, where he gave her sage advice on children and her husband. He very rarely lost his temper except once when Paula hid his liquor on a camping trip.
Charlie was actually a very simple person. He didn’t change that
much in the years I knew him. In the end, he just wanted to have more
good days than bad and the good days were often defined by who he spent
them with. He enjoyed reading or hearing “a good yarn.” He cultivated a
hard-ass image but everyone knew he was a softie.
He had disdain for self-important people, Republicans and hypocrites. He didn’t usually trust people in uniform, expect Park Rangers. (Brother John, a Boston cop didn’t count ‘cause he never wore
the damned thing.) He was a committed atheist. He usually had a buck for the panhandler. He read voluminously and very slowly. He preferred fact to fiction. Three favorite books were: “Memoirs of US Grant,” “Into Thin Air” and “Undaunted Courage.” The only thing I ever heard him call inspiring was “Tuesdays with Maury.” He almost never lied and was consistently objective and logical. He almost always drove too fast.
Above everything, he valued his family and friends, even more so at the end.
Charlie considered himself a better editor than writer. Yet, he authored a truly unforgettable work: “Health Updates,” which his friends received by email. It broke newspaper rules by burying hard news leads inside little good news sandwiches. In the middle graph we’d find telltale words like “inoperable” or “a mild discomfort in the
lower jaw.” As the author warned, Health Updates would end sadly. Before it did, we learned about courage, strength, reality and that justice has nothing to do with it.
I last visited Charlie two weeks before he died. I stayed for only a few minutes because he was clearly suffering. There just weren’t enough good days left.
I miss him terribly. I’d give anything if he could tell me now to tighten and rearrange these few paragraphs. I still see him shaking his head from side-to-side, saying: “Jesus Christ, Israel—would you just
cut to the bloody chase?
I’d even give him the last word.”
Even though we haven’t hit the official start to summer, it’s getting hot in here (as in 100 degrees in May, HOT) and you may be anticipating the slow departure of your online audience.
However, as Marcus Fischer, CEO space150, discusses in this great post “The Summer Road Trip Went Digital. What’s Your Strategy?“, your visitors are still plugged in and there is no better time to ramp up your content and online promotion. As Fischer states, this “always-on, always-informed, always-sharing” audience is primed for your summer promotional efforts. In this post, I’ll address creative ways you can keep the momentum going and engage users well into summer.
Great strategy starts with a plan, so let’s first take a look at a few key calendar dates to get the creative juices flowing.
|Online promotional discount for Military, Make a Veteran a hero by profiling on your site or e-newsletter, Best Memorial Day Festivals|
|Best Motivational Quotes for Grads, Graduation Gifts Under $50, Infographic: Creative Ways for Surviving Summer Break|
|Best Movies About Fatherhood, Fun Things for Dad to Do on Father’s Day, Recipes to make for a great Dad’s Day Celebration, Gifts Dads Love|
|Top 10 things you’d need for the 4th of July parade, hosting a party, decorating for the 4th|
July 27 – August 12
|Slideshow: Memorable Olympic Moments, Poll: Which Olympic Events are You Most Looking Forward to?, Infographic: The Diet of an Olympian|
|Back to School
|How to Make a Dorm Room Feel Like a Home, Print-out for Parents: 25 of the Healthiest After School Snacks|
|Move planning checklist, Instructional Video: The Best Way to Pack Your Delicate Items, What you Need to Know Before Hiring a Moving Company|
|Weekend Home Improvement How-To Guide, Top 50 Easiest Do-It-Yourself Home Repairs|
Here’s an example of a recent Memorial Day Pinterest campaign we did for Keiser University College of Golf, a Servicemembers Opportunity College.
Next, let’s review some key tactics you can infuse into your content marketing and promotions to give it that summer flavor.
Give Your Brand a Summer Makeover
What better way to have your audience take notice, than with a playful refresh to the look and feel of your branding? Nobody does this better than Google with their decorative doodles to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and other special events. From your website and Facebook timeline to your content and promotions, put a summer spin on your design, messaging and imagery. For example, Target’s Facebook cover photo:
Put the Sizzle in Your Promotions
Combine a summer theme with the product or service your are advertising. Bring out the idea of fun and sun by making your ads brighter and more colorful, reflecting the outside world. Studies show that Facebook fans love seasonal promotions.
Celebrate Unique Holidays
Up the fun-factor by taking advantage of some of the unusual holidays celebrated during summer months. For example, June is National Candy Month! Here’s a great website that lists many of the obscure promotional dates.
Create Summer-Lovin Content
Get your audience’s attention by talking about what’s top-of-mind for them this summer, like: free ways to beat the heat, the best summer concerts, 101 ways to keep the kids entertained, or a Pinterest pinning contest to win a beach vacation! CVS did a nice job with this content tie-in:
Get Your Audience Involved!
Summertime doesn’t have to be a slow time of year for your promotion calendar. Hopefully these tips will help to spark your online creativity.
What unique ways have you entertained your site visitors throughout the summer?
Memorial Day weekend is not only known for barbeques, Americana and traffic but also huge sales. Retailers of all kinds are kicked into high gear this past weekend, aiming to attract shoppers looking to purchase items ranging from ketchup and mustard to kayaks and cars. But isn’t Memorial Day weekend supposed to be a patriotic holiday? Why has Memorial Day become a shopping holiday? Obviously, the deep discounts and 3-day sales encourage it. But, I actually think it is because being thrifty is (and has increasingly become) part of the American identity.
The U.S. is home to Wal-Mart, eBay, LivingSocial, and extreme couponing. Shoppers today are addicted to deals and have come to expect them. This past weekend, shoppers even got to have a bit of fun in the sun when it came to shopping sale goods. Retailers big and small moved merchandise outside and created themed sections in store to highlight their solutions for weekend and summer fun.
Though Memorial Day savings last just a few days, Americans will continue to seek savings and ways to make thrift fun. Retailers see this occurring and are getting in on the fun. Target recently mailed out “haiku-pons,” a booklet of poetry and savings designed to allow the shopper to make haikus as they clip. How will other retailers appease thrift hungry Americans post Memorial Day?
Each year, we go through the same process, don’t we?
We start the year with a topic, a theme, something that carries us through the Spring. Some of you find the topic interesting, and hire me. Others find the topic interesting, and implement the ideas. Still others find the topic of interest, and continue to subscribe. Finally, there are those who don’t like the topic, and unsubscribe, citing “too many updates”!
Then we get to Memorial Day.
From late May to early September, attention is diverted. Some might think content is to blame, but I beg to differ. No, I think our attention span dwindles, in part, because of the weather.
For the seventh consecutive year, you’ll be part of a time-honored tradition, called “a decrease in content frequency“.
Starting next week, posts will be published for public consumption on Monday morning, Tuesday morning, and Thursday morning. As always, when topics dictate, supplemental posts will be published.
A happy Memorial Day to you all, especially those who might be somber today because of a loved one lost in the service of his or her country. Know that they did not die in vain. Whether in combat or not, stateside or abroad, each person who has had the bravery and valor to serve their country deserves our gratitude.
And though this holiday is primarily celebrated by Americans, we’d like to extend the same gratitude and respect to anyone who has served, regardless of country. Sacrificing one’s safety to pursue principles larger than ones self is awesome. Paying the ultimate sacrifice is incredible to fathom.
On Saturday, I took my son Grant to Zachary Taylor National Cemetery here in Louisville. His Cub Scout Troop participates in the annual Memorial Day Weekend Planting of Flags there. On the way, we talked about Memorial Day and what it meant. We talked about people dying for their country, for ideas and ideals larger than themselves. While I’m certain my son (he’s 7) doesn’t quite grasp it all, I’m glad he understood enough about our conversation to be very respectful while planting flags near a couple dozen tombstones.
What he didn’t understand, I did. It was an opportunity for me to think about my Grandfather, a World War II veteran who lost 3/4 of his right leg, a percentage of his right arm and any chance of a normal life in a fox hole in France in 1943. He lived a long, but uncomfortable life until 1993. While I never asked him about the War, I did have a chance to tell him I loved him and say goodbye before he died.
Fortunately for me, I don’t just think about my Granddad on Memorial Day. I think about him every time any notion of the armed forces, patriotism or national pride arise. That’s why I love the National Anthem played at sporting events and other public ceremonies. It makes me think of my Grandfather.
Unfortunately, too many people reserve their respect for our armed forces for this day and maybe the Fourth of July. I’m lucky that I have that personal reminder more frequently. Here’s hoping we can all think about the sacrifices made for our freedoms by others — regardless of our nationality — and find a similar personal reminder for those other days on the calendar.
Then perhaps we’ll all be as thankful as we really should be.
There are no words that can express the amount of appreciation we all have for our veterans, our lost troops and those currently on active duty. You have provided freedom and safety for every American and you have sacrificed so much. We thank you and appreciate you. The following video is a strong one, but [...]