For most people, Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off of Summer. We get excited about school getting out, summer vacations, backyard barbecues, and warm weather.
Memorial Day doesn’t mean any of these things for my family and me.
Memorial Day is the time when our nation honors and remembers our soldiers and sailors who gave up their lives while on active duty in the armed forces. These men and women made the ultimate sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.
My brother, Seaman Cherone Gunn, was one of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on October 12, 2000. He was killed in the terrorist attack aboard the USS Cole. So, on Memorial Day, we reflect on his life and service. We honor him and all other service members who lost their lives. We remember them as they were. We recognize that they gave all.
The true meaning of Memorial Day helps me to reflect on the importance of leadership. Leaders must remember there is a significant amount of sacrifice that goes into a prosperous nation. The same level of sacrifice happens not just in the armed forces but in all types of organizations. The sacrifices made by first responders that respond to every emergency. The sacrifices made by nurses and doctors caring for COVID-19 patients. Even the sacrifices made by patients participating in clinical trials. Every day, someone makes a sacrifice. It should not be taken lightly by any of us, especially if you are a leader.
As we end the month of May and begin the unofficial start of Summer, I want you to take some time to reflect on those who are making sacrifices around you. I want you to honor them. I want you to remember them. I want you to say thank you to them.
Thank you for your sacrifices,
PS: If you want to learn more about my brother, Seaman Cherone Gunn, and the leadership lessons I learned from his death, please check out this Huff Post article: What Terrorism Taught Me About Leadership.