In addition to the festive events of the day, such as picnics, concerts and parades, Memorial Day provides an opportunity to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation. It allows us to show support to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in defense of freedom and our country.
In recent years, Americans serving in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have been lost. For their families and loved ones – who may be our neighbors, friends and coworkers – grief may be fresh and painful. Memorial Day is a time we should reach out and comfort them and let them know that we recognize and honor the sacrifice their loved one has made.
Additionally, this day of remembrance is particularly meaningful to our nation’s Veterans who, amidst Memorial Day activities, deserve support and recognition of their service and the losses they may have experienced.
U.S. Veterans may be mourning brothers and sisters in arms who were lost during World War II, Korea, or Vietnam. Past traumatic memories and losses are often rekindled. This is a natural part of grieving and calls for our compassion and support.
Hospice organizations throughout the country are answering the call to serve our Veterans through NHPCO’s We Honor Veterans initiative. They know that supporting those around us can be as simple as lending an ear or holding a hand.
Additionally, hospice and palliative care professionals, who deal with loss on a daily basis, remind us that sharing the range of thoughts, emotions and reactions we experience is important. Whether it is pride or shame, grief or hope, fear or fatigue, it is healthy to acknowledge what we are feeling.
In supporting those who are grieving – whether it is a recent loss or one from years past – we honor those who have sacrificed so much.
NHPCO’s Caring Connections offers information about grief at www.caringinfo.org/grief.