Monday, May 26, 2014

The True Meaning of Memorial Day

Available HERE
By Heather Long

   It’s easy to forget to about the true meaning of Memorial Day. So many of us spend the three-day weekend at picnics, camping, barbecues or the swimming pool. It’s the first full weekend of summer. For kids, it’s also so close to the beginning of summer vacation they either spend their time wishing school were already over or planning their vacations. In truth, this isn’t what Memorial Day is all about—and at the same time, yes it is. 
   Memorial Day honors those who have given their lives for our country—no matter what service or what war. We honor our ancestors, great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, siblings, spouses, and friends. They who serve and lose their lives have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. That same freedom that lets us plan barbecues, trips to the beach, long movies, or simply sleeping later on Memorial Day Weekend. 
   On Facebook, memes are floating around to remind people that Memorial Day isn’t about your barbecue or picnic, and for some families, it’s always Memorial Day as they mourn someone they have lost. But I think spending this weekend with friends or family, indoors or out, through shopping or sleeping in, is a celebration of personal freedom. 
   Take a moment to reflect on those who have given their lives. Pay forward a kindness to someone in the military or to the family of someone who serves. Then go out and enjoy your life. The sacrifices of our Armed Forces are why we are able to celebrate this weekend in the first place. 
   All of these thoughts are going through my head as I sit at Comicpalooza this weekend. With visitors expected to number over 50,000, not including the vendors, artists, exhibitors, and media guests, the carefully dressed chaos is easy to lose yourself in. From mid-grade to middle aged, visitors come in jeans, t-shirts, costumes (both elaborate and simple). They shop, listen to panels, stand in lines to meet television stars, comic book artists, authors and more…but do you know what they all have in common? 
   Freedom of expression. Freedom to play. Freedom. This is the benefit of living in our society, I don’t think anyone should ever be shamed for exercising the freedom so hard-earned by our Armed Forces, nor should anyone be made to feel less because they like to have fun. 
   There’s a line in my most recent book, Her Marine Bodyguard, where Brody ruminates on what his life had been missing: playfulness, arguments, and make up sex. Remembering those who died for us is important, but equally important is celebrating the lives we have thanks to their sacrifice. 
   So take your moment. Remember those who gave their lives, the families who lost their mother, father, son, brother, sister, daughter…and to those who still live, who still serve, and the families who still wait. Remember them, and be grateful when you are out playing this weekend. Say a thank you when you sleep late or turn on the grill. Remembering doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun, and you shouldn’t enjoy yourself. 
   It means don’t forget.

   Happy Memorial Day!

Someone is watching her…
Shannon Fabray’s career in the art world is on the rise thanks in no small part to her signature sculpture Her Marine. But with fame, comes fans and some like to get closer than others. Coping with the notoriety, Shannon doesn’t let the constant contact get under her skin until one night, it goes to far and to Shannon’s horror, one of them is making it very clear he wants the artist for himself and sees her as a possession that should be added to his collection.

He’s coming home…
After dozen years in service to his country, Lieutenant Brody Essex has lost count of the missions he’s run, the hours he’s spent in the field and the number of days he’s been out of the country. Budgetary issues freeze his promotion, and his unit is left on the ground in Afghanistan, but he makes it work because the only countdown that matters to him is the one that will bring him home.  Home to the artist that carved a niche in his heart. When bureaucratic snafus hold up his paperwork, he sucks it up until a phone call alerts him that Shannon’s loft has been broken into, and she was nearly kidnapped. 

Breaking all the rules…
Now Brody will break the rules and go AWOL, heading home without permission because his girl is in danger and she needs her Marine bodyguard….

#decadentpub, #HVLong, #AlwaysaMarine