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In Honor of Memorial Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them” – John F Kennedy

               With so much happening in the world – we wanted to take a timeout and show our appreciation and respect to those that have laid their life down for the many freedoms we enjoy today. We live in a world that is changing, a world that is embracing our freedoms on levels that were once thought to be impossible. It is only by those that graciously and with honor serve our country, are we able to accept who we are and a lifestyle that many are unable to begin to even imagine, without facing persecution. We take for granted the milestones that we have achieved with sexuality – having the very freedom of acceptance and free from hate and discrimination. When coming to Secrets – we get this escape from reality and we get to be who we are, no judgement, no lynching mob, not fearing for our lives simply because we do not fit the mold of what society deems as normal. Our sexual freedom is a big part of who we are and what Secrets was made for. Like all the freedoms we enjoy today -the freedom to enjoy our sexuality came at a cost. It did not happen overnight, and many still face the challenge and fear of losing their jobs, their respect in the community and their family’s disapproval. A soldier does not pick and choose what is right or wrong, no matter their own beliefs, they stand ready to fight.  We have a long way to go, but because we have men and women willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom – we have come a long way. It is with respect and love that we thank you and your family for defending this great nation.

            If you have never stood at the service of a fallen hero – there are no words that can begin to describe the sorrow and pride that runs through the very depths of your soul. We wake up each day and carry on just as we did the day before. With an expectation that the freedoms we have are a given, often forgetting those that gave everything. I do not know what it feels like to strap on those boots and take another glance in the mirror making sure that my uniform is fitting to serve my country, saying goodbye to my family with a duffel bag and the unknown journey to war ahead. I do not know what it is like to sleep countless of nights alone with the sound of mortars and gunfire flying above, the excessive heat or bitter cold, overtaking my body while I lay my head down hoping for a few hours of sleep. I do not know what it is like to be away from my family, friends, and peers for months on end, only to return and feel like a foreigner in my own home, my own town and my own country. I do not know what it feels like to wake up each day with the visions in my head of what war really looks like. The aching in one's heart for the comrade they lost, or the soldier that was left behind. 

               What I do know is that we see you – we feel the honor when we stand in your presence. We feel the pride and tears swell up that you, a stranger, have chosen to defend our freedom at the expense of your own life. I am forever grateful; we are forever grateful. We cannot bring back the life that was so graciously lost, but we can honor those lives. We will honor their legacy, their bravery and their commitment to protect the very freedoms they sacrificed their life for. 

               It was November 2006 when we heard the news that that we had lost a soldier, friend, father, husband, mentor and LTC of the United States Army. His passing came after and improvised explosive device (IED) was denotated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq along with two other heroes that served with him. It was at his service that I experienced emotions that I never imagined I could feel. As we began the journey of our fallen hero, we walked with pride as the protestors ranted, shouted, and displayed their vulgarity at their own beliefs of what is defined as right from wrong. It was the words of a great leader that did not show anger – or sadness – yet stood tall and with pride, he said.

               “I know many of you are angry right now, sad and confused that such a display could take place at this very moment. You may see this as disgrace, but it is a reminder of what he died for, what he laid his life on the line for, what each of us defend. He gave his life so those can have that very freedom to stand out there and protest what they believe is right. He died for their rights. He died for your rights. He died for our freedom. Freedom is never free.” – LTC, Fort Carson, CO

               For all the families that have lost a loved one, you made the ultimate sacrifice when you took your vows to honor and cherish the very spouse that puts on one of the greatest uniforms. Your dedication is one that many are not built for – you are a special breed of independence, compassion, and love. We have the upmost respect for the hardships you face day to day that go unnoticed. You serve our country with an open heart and little recognition from behind the lines. We see you, we care and we honor you. It is your love and devotion that our uniformed men and women can get through long deployments, long nights, and endless days. It is your dedication that makes the moments they are gone, worth coming home.

               From our Secrets family to yours – Thank you for allowing us to honor you and celebrate Memorial Day.

I have fought when others feared to serve.
I have gone where others failed to go.
I've lost friends in war and strife,
Who valued Duty more than love of life.

I have shared the comradeship of pain.
I have searched the lands for men that we have lost.
I have sons who served this land of liberty,
Who would fight to see that other stricken lands are free.

I have seen the weak forsake humanity.
I have heard the traitors praise our enemy.
I've seen challenged men become even bolder,
I've seen the Duty, Honor, Sacrifice of the Soldier.

Now I understand the meaning of our lives,
The loss of comrades not so very long ago.
So to you who have answered duties siren call,
May God bless you my son, may God bless you all.

                                                                                  --- Lewis Millett