Restoring the Meaning of Memorial Day
Enjoying a day away from the office with a few hotdogs, cold drinks and a lot of sun makes for a great Memorial Day, but that isn’t exactly what the day is all about. In 2003, I left my family, friends, and future wife for an active duty deployment in the United States Army. In 2005, I left my wife of 1 month for a deployment to Baghdad, Iraq that would last over a year. Our Forward Operating Base (FOB) would often go on “Comms Blackout,” usually meaning a soldier on our FOB had been killed or seriously injured and their family was being officially notified.
It’s that experience that gives Memorial Day a deeper meaning than just a day off with hotdogs and led to my involvement with Carry The Load. Carry The Load works to bring all Americans together to participate in honoring our nation’s heroes every day. This includes a nationwide relay that gives participants an opportunity to walk alongside veterans, first responders and citizens to honor those heroes’ sacrifice and take a turn experiencing the weight of a rucksack. While the weight and pain of carrying a ruck for miles can be intense, it doesn’t come close to the pain many of our service members and their families have experienced. All of the money raised during the May awareness events goes directly to support Carry The Load’s Continuum of Care program. Carry The Load partners with other charities to provide direct services to help those heroes and their families who have given so much to this country.
I could not be prouder that AT&T has become a sponsor of this year’s relay, through both a financial commitment and involvement of our employees. Our company has a long history supporting our military and first responders through our commitment to hire 20,000 Veterans by the year 2020 or using our talents to design an innovative new mobile network called FirstNet to connect our First Responders in a way that’s never been achieved before.
As a Navy Seal I had the honor of knowing, Chris Kyle, used to tell me, “It’s our duty to serve those that serve us.” I hope that’s a motto we can all live by everyday.