I Thank My Friend On Memorial Day

Thank You For Your Service On This Memorial Day

We remember those who have served and still serve today.


The man in the photo above has been a part of my life for four years. Before we were friends, he was just the guy with the weird cloth around his head. During our junior year of high school, he auditioned for his first musical. After that, he joined the drumline. He was a football legend with the turban on his head but found a love for music, so we became instant friends. We played our drums so hard and so often we had to re-tape our sticks and replace our head drums. We poured our souls into our junior musical, and during the last scene on closing day, we cried about the memories we had made, and we wished he had joined sooner.

I continued to play drumline for him during football season our senior year and came back together for our senior musical and winter drumline. We would sit in the locker banks after practice and share the stories we had. He asked for advice on his relationship, and I would give him hilarious stories from working in fast food.

Prom 2016Lauryn Heppe

He has taught me everything I needed to know about our country and politics. He taught me biased news companies and how to find and argue your own opinion. I have always been glad to live in America, but he taught me how to love being a citizen here. He invited me to see a well-known speaker with his friends. He laughed at the controversial news articles I picked for my reports for my politically biased teacher to read. He taught me the importance of voting and educating yourself, regardless if you're of voting age or can legally vote. He answered all my questions without hesitation, but more importantly, with enthusiasm.

Graduation May 2017 Lauryn Heppe

However, after a lot of procrastination on his part, we decided on our colleges. He went to UW-Madison to study political science. However, he knew political science would only get him in the unemployment line. He sent me a picture of US Army gear, and I had asked him what that was for. He said he applied for basic training to serve in the US Army. He told me he was so excited about what was in store. He wrote a letter to the government explaining the importance of the religious and cultural significance of his turban and beard. He was excited that he was going to be gone all of the summer sitting in classrooms and getting his body into the best shape of his life. More importantly, he couldn't wait to represent his country.

We don't often talk due to our busy lives, but I always think of him and thank him for his kind heart. I thank him for sitting with me when the going got tough in high school. I thank him for being supportive when college wasn't going so well. I thank him for showing me how to be a true American. But most importantly, I thank him for serving in a country that we are sometimes ungrateful for. So while Memorial Day is about those who died for our country, we also can't forget those who still fight today. Today, I and millions of people here in the United States of America, thank you for your service. You are never forgotten in my heart.

Love you lots, boo.

Graduating BCTManinderjit Singh

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I Paid For A Meal For A Man In Uniform And Here's What Happened

Here's how a small act of gratitude to appreciate a life-risking sacrifice turned into a life-changing lesson.


On one of these occasions, I was eating at Chipotle with two of my friends, and I didn't even think twice about getting up from eating with them to go pay for the man in line with an army uniform on. When he reached the cashier, I told the cashier that I was going to pay for his meal. He turned to me, mouth open, and asked me why. After paying, I told him that my friends and I were about to go to a football game and that without him dedicating his life to keeping our country safe and to protecting our freedom, we wouldn't be able to go the game. We wouldn't be able to live our lives the way we do without serious fear of our safety.

Noticing the wedding ring on his finger, I continued and told him that I wanted to pay for his meal as an extremely small "thank you" to his wife and family's sacrifice to the country as well. He looked at me with the biggest smile on his face as he said, "Well thank you for saying 'thank you'! I love my job because I get to protect Americans like you and your friends. It makes it all worth it. I really do love this country."

Finding his large smile contagious, I felt the biggest smile coming on as I said, "I love this country too," and with that, I never would have guessed what would happen next. He said, "Hang on just one sec, but let's move to the side to let the rest of the line pay for their dinners."

We moved just to the side of the cashier as he looked down at the American flag patch on the arm of his uniform. "I haven't ever done this, but I want to do this…" He took the patch off of the Velcro patch of his uniform and handed it to me. As tears started forming in my eyes, I looked at him without being able to form words. Smiling again, he asked, "Do you know why the flag is backward?" I managed to say "No," as he told me that the reason that the flag is back so that the stars are closer to the heart of the soldier.

He patted me on the shoulder and said that he would keep my friends and I close to his heart as he continued to serve our country, and left the restaurant before I could even say goodbye.

This interaction not only renewed my appreciation for the military, but it also taught me a completely new lesson about the impact we can have on others. This man has risked his life for people he has never met, and yet he still took the time to brighten my day.

What would that look like for us if we chose to live like this? If we devoted our whole lives to others and to brightening instead of darkening their lives?

I personally think we'd all be finding contagious smiles and realizing that, despite everything, we love our country too.


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8 Songs To Remind You What Memorial Day Is About

While it is a day to celebrate our freedom, we must remember all of those who gave their lives for the freedoms we often take for granted.


Many people fail to realize the true importance and the difference between Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. While both are days to celebrate the freedoms our soldiers have earned for us, Memorial Day is about honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to give us the many privileges we have today. Here are a few songs to honor our fallen soldiers this Memorial Day.

'American Soldier' by Toby Keith, 2003

"I don't wanna die for you/ But if dying's asked of me/ I will bear that cross with honor/ 'Cause freedom don't come free"

This song will always be my go-to song when it comes to military songs. Toby Keith perfectly captures the feelings of every soldier when they go off to war- leaving behind their families and facing the dangers head on knowing full well that they may not come home. Countless soldiers have and will continue to give their lives protecting our country and this song is a reminder of everything soldiers sacrifice in their line of duty.

'Some Gave All' by Billy Ray Cyrus, 1992

"Some stood through for the red, white, and blue/ And some had to fall"

Billy Ray Cyrus perfectly put into words the sacrifices made by soldiers who go to war to protect our country. Everybody gives some portion of themselves in battle and no soldier comes back from overseas the same. However, there are many forgotten soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice to defend our nation and everything it stands for and we must remember that. This ballad gives a strong message that should be echoing around the country this Memorial Day.

'If You're Reading This' by Tim McGraw, 2007

"I'm layin down my gun/ Hanging up my boots/ Tell dad I don't regret that I followed in his shoes"

Never will I not cry when I listen to this song. Written in the point of view of a fallen soldier, Tim McGraw's ballad shows just everything a soldier says goodbye to when he lays down his life. The lyrics talk to the soldiers parents, telling them not to be sad and that his soul is home, as well as his wife and unborn daughter to whom he wishes the best for. Always one of the songs that hits close to home.

'Arlington' by Trace Adkins, 2005

"And every time I hear twenty-one guns/ I know they brought another hero home to us"

Yet another tearjerker. This song centers around a soldier who lost his life in battle and was buried in Arlington, the national military cemetery, where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located. The soldier reminiscences on the way his parents cried presented with his flag, and the way he and his dad searched for his grandfather's grave here when they were kids. His father told him that this was the sacrifice of freedom, and the subject of the song is proud that he is one of the "chosen ones."

'Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue' by Toby Keith, 2002

"My daddy served in the Army/ Where he lost his right eye/ But he flew a flag out in our yard/ 'Till the day that he died"

I adore this song because not only does it honor our fallen soldiers, but it's the upbeat chorus and prideful lyrics could instill a sense of patriotism in even the most unpatriotic. It talks about how the USA will never fail to retaliate when someone threatens our peace and security, as we've done countless times.

In the words of Toby Keith, "we'll put a boot in your ass/ it's the American way."

'Travelin' Soldier' by Dixie Chicks, 2003

"Don't worry but I won't be able to write for a while"

This song sits really close to home for me because it talks about a young high school girl who falls in love with a newly enlisted soldier, and how their love continues to grow even when he's overseas. Everybody tells her that she's too young to be waiting around for a soldier but she holds on hope anyways, even when his letters stop coming. In the bridge of the song, we find out that the soldier dies in the war in Vietnam and her waiting for her soldier to return takes on a much more sad meaning,

'I Drive Your Truck' by Lee Brice, 2012

"Hey, man I'm trying to be tough/ And momma asked me this morning if I'd been by your grave/ But that flag and stone ain't where I feel you anyway"

A newer song yet still a gem, Lee Brice tells how he copes with the loss of his brother. He talks about driving his brother's truck to feel close to him again, using this source of comfort to drown the pain of his loss. He leaves his brother's things in the truck, like his dog tags, cowboy boots, and Go Army shirt, keeping the relics of his brother close after saying goodbye in his own way.

'Just A Dream' by Carrie Underwood, 

"And the guns rang one last shot/ And it felt like a bullet in her heart"

Another song about a dead lover, Carrie Underwood focuses on the fear of lovers and spouses of military personnel feel whenever their loved one is away at war. She talks about a girl, fresh into womanhood preparing to marry her lover before finding out that he died in the war. Her wedding then turns into a funeral as "reality" hits her but then comforts herself by saying the entire scenario is a dream. However, Underwood was able to capture the fear of every military spouse that they could lose their loved one at any given moment.

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