Monday is Memorial Day. It’s a day where America celebrates its Fallen. Every year service men and women die in the line of duty. Some are recognized for their actions while on active duty and others receive accolades posthumously. Their time in service and sacrifice to their nation is not forgotten; especially because of Memorial Day.
Arlington cemetery is a special place. If you haven’t taken a trip to Washington, D.C. I suggest you put it on your bucket list. Visiting Arlington cemetery is a must. Not only will you get a great view across the city, but the atmosphere of the cemetery will likely take your breath away.
Memorial Day 2015 was the first time my family and I had the privilege to take part in the flower ceremony. Many gracious donors supply the cemetery with roses. People are encouraged to take them by the handful or even armful and lay them on each and every single grave. It was truly an honor to take part, walk through the never-ending rows of grave sites, recognize and remember these servicemen and women who gave their all.
One of these service members was a young man called Ryan Savard. He was one of the elite soldiers, a Green Beret, of the United States Army. He was a friend of a friend and albeit we never met him in person, it has become my honor to help spread his message — for Cris and James.
Cris and James are young men who have worked alongside my husband for a few years. Our ways parted briefly as my husband went on to teach new Special Forces Medical Sergeants and Cris and James took on a job that required them to work in a more secluded place.
On October 13, 2012, our friends Cris and James lost their teammate, Ryan – due to injuries sustained during a mission in Afghanistan.
In 2014, Cris started what would become a ride for the fallen called Coast x Coast. Every year, he begins his journey in California and rides across the nation spreading Ryan’s message and ending in Arlington to remember him at his grave site. Cris is still on active duty, so he takes all of his personal time to raise awareness to help others heal. Through that he says he finds peace and healing himself. Cris is an altruistic man because every penny he raises during his campaign goes to a scholarship fund benefitting children of Green Berets.
At one of the Coast to Coast gathering sites, Cris remembered his friend by giving a speech that will forever stay with me. He said, “In an attempt to save his life, two of Ryan’s fellow soldiers were severely wounded as they rushed to his aid. While administering medical assistance, I (Cris) had the great fortune to bear witness to the heart and spirit of a genuine and unique warrior. Ryan did not pass from our lives without a remarkable fight. Despite several gunshot wounds, he inspired everyone around him, fighting for his life for more than two hours, refusing to quit as we placed him on the evacuation helicopter. Although Ryan could not overcome his wounds, the strength and unconquerable heart he displayed that night so far from his home will always remain with each of us.”
Both of our friends are forever changed because of the tragic loss of Ryan. Their bravery and work alongside all of our other friends, alongside my husband, is something we can’t talk about in detail, but today I want to take the time to let them know: You are not forgotten. You are in our prayers and will be for as long as we can pray. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. You are indeed superheroes. All of you.
If you would like to know what a Green Beret is, I invite you to click HERE and read more on Millions of Peaches Blog. If you would like to donate to the Ryan Savard Scholarship Fund, please click the link. If you would like to ride along with Cris, please check at Coast to Coast for an updated riding schedule. He may be in a city near you this summer. If you cannot ride, please go to any of the events listed at www.coastxcoast.org.
We may be a retired military family now, but our troops are near and dear to our heart.
De Oppresso Liber.