Memorial Day, believe it or not, was originally intended as a day to honor those that volunteered their time serving our country and ultimately made the greatest sacrifice for the benefit of the rest of us: their lives. Today, it has unfortunately turned into a hotdog eating, beer drinking, pool opening, extra day off.
Memorial Day for me is a day to reflect on how I can give back as well. Although I’m not able to serve in the Armed Forces (and my ultimate respect goes out to those who have and continue to do so), that doesn’t mean that I cannot serve my community in another way, by volunteering.
A lot of people don’t realize that although donations are important, sacrificing one’s time to help an organization is just as important. Volunteers allow the numerous non-profits to be able to use their funds (including those donations) for the remarkable causes they support.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of volunteering with an incredible group of coworkers at Give Kids the World. In short, I spent three hours outside in the intense Florida sun, sweeping sand and filling in sidewalks. It was the most labor intensive and exhausting work I’ve done in arguably my entire life, and yet it was one of the most rewarding and life-changing days as well. Not only did I help give back to my community while bonding with my coworkers, but I received a welcome reality check on just how truly blessed I am (and also how difficult landscapers’ jobs are and that they all deserve raises).
I am proud to announce that I have submitted my application to become a regular volunteer at Give Kids the World, and cannot wait to start putting in my time and being able to give back to my community…as I am fortunate enough that I can do so. I may not be able to join the ranks of honor of the US Armed Forces, but I can still learn a lesson from them this Memorial Day in that I ask myself not what the country (or community) has done for me, but what can I do for the country (or community).
Should I have children that look up to me, or one day a family of my own, I want to spread the message that Memorial Day is not about the hotdogs and pool parties, it is about living your life for others and honoring that. Perhaps Einstein summed it up best when he said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
Happy Memorial Day,