Today is Memorial Day. For some, it’s an extra day off to do whatever they want. For me, it’s a pink gorilla in the room posing some serious questions.
So, this post really started out as an email promoting Inshore Fishing 101, a course that I sell to anyone who wants to get better at inshore fishing. I had hardly finished typing out the headline when something snapped inside my head.
How could I bang out this meaningless copy egging people on to buy a course?
I felt like an empty voice making another telemarketing phone call. I felt mindless.
Never mind that it’s Memorial Day.
I recalled how I made moves to build this Blog, how much I love the marsh and my belief in the power of fishing.
I decided I should be me. I should be real and straight from the heart.
So that’s what I did. When I was done, I read over a moving and powerful idea of what Memorial Day is really about, and how that relates to our lives and, of course, fishing.
I always hated sleazy sales and I told myself I would never put on a mask to front the Blog. I’m just me and that has really worked out in a good way.
Besides, what if you only got emails from me about Inshore Fishing 101 or whatever all the time? That would be pretty boring.
After all, the likelihood of us meeting in the future is pretty darned good.
I run into people who follow the Blog all the time. I just want to be me when we do.
Sometimes the worst thing a man can do is over-think things, but I also believe having alone-time with no distractions is a great way to look inward to consider one’s thoughts and ideas.
I’ve done this a lot over the years and it began in Iraq.
It was there, alone at night on fire watch, that I’d stare up at the sky and ponder what it is I am really about. What we were doing there, why I wanted to be there, the meaning of our comrades’ deaths and more.
With a combat MOS and a lot of deployments I had the opportunity to get in the thick of it before getting that alone-time. I always did the same thing, thinking and pondering.
That synthesis is one of many ways I have grown stronger from my experiences.
Anyways, one thing that always comes up for me is Memorial Day.
But first let me set the tone…
It’s important to recognize that some guys joined the military with a combat arms occupational specialty, a far more hazardous job that had the exact same pay and benefits as anyone who sat in the rear, away from the fight and eating at the chow hall everyday.
My friends died incredibly horrible deaths.
Some were burned beyond recognition before dying anyways in the hospital.
Some expired in a pool of their own blood, cold and alone as their comrades struggled to win the fight. Some never got a combat MOS and got blown up anyways. Sh*t happens.
For me it is every day.
I think we all know what people certainly do, and it has jack to do with memorializing those who died in combat for our freedoms.
Sure, there will be the quick “thank you for your service” to anyone who ever wore a uniform, but Memorial Day isn’t about the living.
It’s about the dead.
You know everyone spent today going fishing, cooking out or doing anything they desire with their extra day off besides taking time to remember those who died for them.
It’s true. I never see anything else in my news feed.
I used to get bitter and angry over people’s use of the day, but today I have a different perspective on it:
If I had died in Iraq would I want to be remembered for it? Certainly.
But would I want everyone to boo-hoo over me? Not really.
That’d be kind of a buzzkill.
I could have suck-start my Glock to paint the ceiling with my head.
I could have taken the easy way out and let everyone down.
Instead I chose to saddle up, reinvent myself and create something that serves a higher purpose.
I like to think the Marines who died on those deployments would want the same.
In fact, it’s a motivating reason for me to do what I do with the Blog. I see the Blog as a positive contribution to the world, if only a small one.
But I believe in it. Belief is everything.
I know rain covered most of the state this morning, but it did clear out and there was plenty of time to get on ’em.
I hope you got to use your day off to go on an adventure. :)
Yes, you should take time to memorialize the dead, especially on this day set aside for them.
If you’re reading this then you are alive and you are free. Men and women better than me or you paid for that.
Will you toss out a quick “thank you for your service” and high-tail it?
Or are you going to make changes to live a life anyone would be proud of?
Are you going to make those changes today?
Will it serve someone or something other than yourself?
Will you go fishing? You should. Fishing is awesome.
Fishing does things for people other things simply don’t. You should take someone fishing. Be patient with them. Teach them what you know and plant that seed. That’s just one thing you can do right now.
This is a powerful message. People need to hear it. If you know someone who does, please share this with them. That would mean the world to me.
Have a happy Memorial Day.
Devin is the founder of Louisiana Fishing Blog and enjoys exploring new fishing spots on Louisiana's coast. He prefers using artificial lures and casting tackle, but won't hesitate to break out a popping cork when the time is right.
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