5 min read

SCOOP: The Many Stories Of Memorial Day

SCOOP: The Many Stories Of Memorial Day
Photo by J. Amill Santiago / Unsplash

Dear Friends,

I am writing this Memorial Day message from a plane. I am headed overseas on a trip and will share more about my travels with you in the coming week. I am still in disbelief we made this flight. Picture our family of five running through the Atlanta airport for a connection, my four-year-old insisting on pushing his own suitcase and tumbling over the top of it every few steps. But we made it. In what condition, I'm not entirely sure! And now we find ourselves "cozy" (aka smashed) into the back rows of this Airbus, traveling overseas for the first time as a whole family.

We have a mission, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you.

We usually spend our Memorial Day at a small town rodeo, where the whole crowd stands and sings the national anthem, and a cowboy walks a riderless horse with upside down boots in the stir-ups around the arena ~ this old tradition honors loss. The emcee leads a prayer and those attending bow their heads, only to lift their lids, sometimes with glistening eyes, to applaud those who served. In the stands, you see so many different versions of red, white and blue. The tribute feels real - both heartfelt and appropriate. We feel taken care of there, in a way that feels right. I have learned the irony of Memorial Day for many military families – a holiday meant to specifically honor those killed in combat can feel even more lonely than any other weekend because it highlights how few truly understand the ultimate sacrifice.

I miss the rodeo, but I am grateful to find myself on this plane. To my right sits my son, Truett Ryan ~ named for Navy SEAL Ryan Job who died while receiving care to repair combat wounds. In front of me sits my eldest son, Brian Marc (we call him "Trace") ~ named for Navy SEAL Marc Lee, who died in battle in Iraq. Marc and I never met, yet we share a last name just by coincidence. Or maybe it's not a coincidence, as the stories from war seem to weave into so many parts of our family. Our sons' names carry meaning and so does our daughter's. Liberty, whose name is inspired by yes, THE statue, had been confirmed years before her birth as I stood in Manhattan at the water's edge gazing at Lady Liberty while speaking to her future father, deployed at the time to a war zone. Liberty arrived late and shares the same birthday as Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor, a medal of honor recipient, also killed in action in Iraq. I met my children's father for the first time, on a night honoring Mikey's sacrifice.

Most of my husband's service predates my arrival in his life; I experienced one deployment with him before we got married. But as you can see, the war, the sacrifice, remains a daily part of our lives.

Even our own families can't truly understand this reality.

I share this story with you because I think this experience has changed my life and makes this news platform different from the inside, out. Foreign policy is personal. You deserve to know all the angles, all the opinions, because doing so celebrates curiosity. The ability to ask questions came from a fight, a real fight, for freedom so we can explore and consider different ideas. The sacrifice of so many, in the name of this freedom, matters. And the choice to serve truly makes those who make that decision, instantly and fundamentally different, than those who don't.

Not better.

Just unique.

And worthy of our honor.

We all know this somewhere deep in our hearts. And throughout history, Americans have tried to recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in a variety of ways. In fact, one single origin story for the "official" Memorial Day does not exist - Historians consider more than 20 different versions.

That fact inspired this special report. I recorded this video two years ago, but it remains one of my favorites. In addition to the report, we placed an abbreviated calendar below so you have a few items to consider for the week ahead, but I hope this message creates some space for a day-off and a moment to reflect.

I look forward to seeing you soon, and, as always, I deeply appreciate your support and the opportunity to share not just the news but our stories.

With love,

TAP the image above or CLICK HERE to watch our special Memorial Day report.

TAP the image above or CLICK HERE to listen to our special Memorial Day report.


Monday: Memorial Day, a day for honoring U.S. military personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice, "particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle."

flag of USA on grass field
Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Tuesday: Closing arguments begin in former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial, meaning the jury could reach a verdict for the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president as early as this week. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the European countries of Moldova and Czechia through Friday; in Prague, Czechia, Blinken plans to "discuss continued support for Ukraine, collaborative defense modernization, and deepening energy ties." And, on this day 87 years ago, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge first officially opened to vehicles.

Did you know? The day before opening to cars, more than 200,000 people walked across the Golden Gate Bridge for the price of twenty-five cents each. 📸: Library of Congress (1984)

Wednesday: On this day in 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Everest, the first climbers to successfully reach the world's highest mountain. This anniversary follows last week's record-breaking climb plus news of additional accidents and fatalities.

a view of a mountain range from an airplane
Photo by Andreas Gäbler / Unsplash

Saturday: June arrives! June 1 marks the first day of hurricane season (which doesn't officially end until November 30th). This year, National Weather Service forecasters expect an especially active hurricane season. Click HERE for a SmartHER Tip on preparing for hurricanes.

Thank you, SCOOP Insiders, for seeing news differently, for embracing (and celebrating) curiosity and for recognizing the value of historical context.

I look forward to sharing more about our travels with you in the near future, and remember, there's always more on SmartHERNews.com.

With love,

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