Dear Friends of Home Base,
What does Memorial Day mean to you? There’s the simple answer, of course: it’s a day to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It means a long weekend; it means parades down Main Street and flags adorning gravestones. It means fireworks and cold beer, and perhaps the first barbeque of the season with family.
Each Memorial Day, our nation says, “Thank You,” to those who serve, and think – perhaps only momentarily – of those Service Members and families who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. The majority of Americans have had the distinct luxury of never knowing war – what it does to a person, to a family, to a community – and so, for them, Memorial Day is just that: a day.
But those of us who have experienced combat, and those families who have buried a loved one, know that war is hell, and grief knows no bounds. War is a burden which transcends time and space. The battles fought wage on within us, regardless of whether we’re in Fallujah or Framingham.
An estimated 20 Veterans commit suicide each day and nearly 7,000 U.S. troops have been killed in our most recent and ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the Families of the Fallen, and for those of us who have served, every single day is Memorial Day. Every hour, every minute, 365 days a year is a potent mix of pain, anger, love, pride, courage, shock, and soul-numbing sadness.
This is the cost of war: the price our Veterans, Service Members, and their Families have paid for our nation’s freedom.
This Memorial Day, I implore you to remember this cost. Remember our fallen Service Members and Veterans, and remember the families they left behind. Remember the emails home, the prayers whispered, the hearts broken, and the lives cut short. Remember our military caregivers, and remember those among us who continue to battle the invisible wounds of war.
I implore you to remember them all, and I ask you to help us honor them.
On Saturday, July 28th, Home Base will recognize and honor the sacrifice of Families of the Fallen, to include those whose family member died in service, and those who lost a loved one post-service by suicide. The tribute will take place Saturday, July 28, at Fenway Park.
This special day will begin in the morning at the Run to Home Base presented by New Balance, Home Base’s biggest fundraiser to heal the invisible wounds of war. The 9K run and 5K run/walk starts and ends inside Fenway Park and will include a special opening ceremony honoring those who have lost a loved one.
That same evening, we will invite Families of the Fallen to be honored on the field at Fenway Park during the pre-game ceremony of the Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins game. This important tribute will include senior military and civilian leaders who will stand together in a show of support and recognition of the journey these families have been on.
If you cannot join us at Fenway this July, I ask you to please consider making a gift towards Home Base’s clinical care to the Families of our Fallen through our two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP). You can click here or text R2HB to 41444 to complete your gift.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, I urge you to remember the weight this day – and every day – holds for the Families of the Fallen. I urge you to take a moment to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation, and to say a prayer for their loved ones who have sacrificed greatly.
Thank you for supporting Home Base, and our mission to heal the invisible wounds.
Brigadier General (Ret) Jack Hammond
Executive Director, Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and
Massachusetts General Hospital Program
* If you are a family member of a Service Member or Veteran who has made the ultimate sacrifice either in service or as a result of his/her service, we invite you to join us for these special events and allow the community to honor you and your family. Please visit www.homebase.org/familiesofthefallen.