I am very thankful for the many international followers of GymJunkies.com. Today in the United States we celebrate Memorial Day – a holiday in honor of our military men and women who have died for their country.
Being a United States Army veteran myself, this is a holiday that I take very seriously.
In November of 2000 I went to Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea is arguably the most isolated nation in the world, and I’ve been there – for about ten minutes.
My final year in the Army was spent in Seoul, South Korea as part of the United Nations Command Honor Guard. We served as armed guards for several high-level intelligence facilities as well as the home of a four-star general. We also raised and lowered the post flag each day and performed various ceremonies while wearing the sharp “dress blue” uniforms.
The most memorable ceremony I was part of was a repatriation ceremony. We got on board a C-130 aircraft in our dress blues and flew from Seoul to Tokyo to Pyongyang, to pick up remains of American servicemen from the Korean War. Hitting the runway in Pyongyang was eerie… there was a huge mural of their leader, Kim Jong Il, and we were under strict orders to not take any photographs.
The ramp dropped and we exited the plane to be met by a semi-circle of North Korean soldiers. They stayed in their vehicles for the most part and I remember wondering if they had rifles with them – as we were unarmed. A moment later a truck with a trailer full of aluminum caskets pulled up to the ramp of the plane. We took a deliberate moment to honor the fallen with solemn salutes, and then swiftly loaded the caskets onto the plane. The ramp closed, the engines started, and I was happy to end my ten minutes in Pyongyang.
So what does this post have to do with health and fitness?
Nothing. Or everything. It really depends on how you think about it.
Maybe you train at a gym, whether a behemoth corporate facility or a mom and pop dungeon, because capitalism allows us to operate our own businesses.
Maybe you vote for elected officials that will shape health care policies, pharmaceutical standards, and what your kids eat during school lunches.
Or maybe you take for granted that tonight your sleep will be uninterrupted by foreign invaders.
In the United States we are blessed with the ability to choose healthy nutrition, a variety of fitness options, and perhaps a too plentiful array of leisure and entertainment distractions. And all of these choices can be traced back to the sacrifices that our service men and women have made at various points in history.
Please join me today in taking a moment to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
How are you celebrating Memorial Day?
What are you doing to honor our fallen servicemen and women?
If you live in a country other than the United States, what are your traditions and holidays to honor your fallen servicemen and women? Let us know in the comments below.