As Americans, we owe a tremendous amount of honor and recognition to those who have lost their lives in the battle for our freedom.
Navy SEAL Rorke Denver points our focus back to the primary significance and purpose of Memorial Day.
“Memorial Day is very much focused on, particularly to the warrior, those that didn’t come home. Veteran’s Day is a day that we honor all those that served. Memorial Day is very, very focused on those that didn’t come back, which we hold in the highest regard and the highest esteem.”
As a veteran himself, Rorke explains the struggle that many service members experience while making the transition from living a military life to a civilian life.
“It’s very interesting, being a veteran and being out in the world and trying to help guide other veterans into their post military life.
“You find just a tremendous source of belonging, motivation and pride being part of the military. A lot of guys or gals, when they get out, find that lacking and really struggle and wrestle with what they’re going to go do.”
Rorke details another challenge that military men and women may encounter during this transition.
“There’s also this idea of hero and heroism. People believe everyone the military is a hero; I’m not going to begrudge anybody for saying that, but I think almost everyone just doesn’t feel that way. They just feel like they were doing a job, giving their best. They were put in pretty exceptional situations and came out of it.”
He shares an example from a close friend who is in the post-military phase of his life.
“I’ve got a good teammate that has earned some of the highest awards you can earn, multiple times over. He is no doubt a hero and now feels tremendous pressure to live up to that hero standard. He feels tremendous weight on his back.
“Now he’s out of the military, he just wants to put food on the table for his kiddos and trying to get a job and make that work.”
Rorke encourages each of us to consider the many men and women who have served in the military and honor them with our words and actions.
“One thing that we can do, as a civilian populace, is actually just give heroes some space. Give them some grace to know that that might have been one exceptional moment, but in their everyday life they’re dealing with all the same stuff as you and me.”