This Memorial Day.

May 29, 2017

One hot, North Carolina afternoon, I was headed out to run an errand. 

At this point, I can’t remember what I was doing specifically, or where I was even headed. All I remember is being stuck in traffic. As I started to slow and close in on the truck in front of me, something caught my attention. The rather large, patriotic mural painted on the tailgate started to come into focus, and the story of a fallen soldier began to reveal itself. His name, likeness, unit, the day he was born, and the day he died. It was all there, sitting right in front of me at that traffic light.
 
A feeling of sadness and loss started to materialize in my whole body. Goosebumps covered my arms. I immediately started thinking of the truck’s driver and all they had lost in this person, this soldier. I started thinking of a life cut far too short, and how it should have - could have been different. 

My thoughts immediately turned to my husband who will soon be deploying. Of my kids, who would soon be without a father in their home for many months.
 
But as quickly as the sorrow had come, came remorse. Shame on me for thinking first of myself and how this mural made me feel. 

Like so many others before him, this brave soldier’s life has not been lost in sorrow. His life, cut all too short, is sacrifice to be considered, remembered and honored. Honored not in grief, but in pride. 
 
I consider myself blessed to have been born and raised in this great nation. To have an ecosystem of family and friends that surrounds me, and the electricity of opportunity that buzzes all around us. I am grateful to be a part of a military community who knows the esteem of tradition, the respect of sacrifice and the value of service.
 
On this Memorial Day and every day - do not make it about you. Take time to remember and honor those who have fallen to protect our great nation. Spend a few moments in utter gratitude of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so our nation can remain the land of the free. Make it about those who have earned our appreciation a thousand times over. 

Honor them. Respect them. Remember them. Always.

Cameron Cruse
COO + Co-founder 
R.Riveter