The Kind Blog

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May 19, 2014

Memorial Day lesson in Kindness - How to respect those who gave their lives, even if you don’t agree

I am a peacenik. I grew up in the '60s. I protested the war in Vietnam and marched against the war in Iraq. I supported conscientious objectors and cried when my high school friends were killed. Call me a hippie, a peacenik, a rabble-rouser, but the one feeling I have always had was respect for those who actually put their lives in danger to be in service to our country. (In actuality, I feel the same way about police and firefighters.)

According to The History Channel, Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. However, like Mother's Day, let's not get complacent to thinking about the sacrifice they made on just one day. And, let's remember that when a life is lost, it affects the living.

A big component of Kindness is empathy. The dictionary defines it as, "the ability to understand and share the feelings of another". We use it when our child scrapes their knee, or we see someone trip and fall, or win a prize. Inside we get happy, sad, or concerned. For those who have gone before us, there is no way to show Kindness directly to them, but through our empathy, we can show Kindness to those whose lives were intertwined with theirs and to those who serve us now.

Here are a few ways you can show your respect, through Kindness, to those who are in service today. In that way, you are showing your respect to those we remember on Memorial Day.

1. When you see a person in uniform say, "Thank you for your service."

2. Write a letter. There are many organizations that help cards and letters get to the military. Operation Gratitude is just one. 

3. Support an organization that provides support to military personnel past and present. This list gives a few great options.

4. Take your family to a Memorial Day parade.

5. Take your family to an Armed Services Memorial.

In some way, we are all affected by those who serve this country, regardless of our varied political views. A little bit of Kindness goes a long way to show we care. Join me on this Memorial Day and every day.

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