Our Memorial Day Responsibility

By Bryan Madden, Mission43 Director

What an incredible responsibility we were given by our friends we served with who didn’t make it home. There is probably a very thin line for many of us where our roles could easily be reversed, and within moments of waking up each day this comes to mind.

As an individual, this responsibility is the furthest thing from a burden. Those killed in combat influence the decisions I make and hold me to a higher standard than what I think I could do on my own.

As a family, the pictures are on the wall and stories are told. Our son bears the name of one of them and has been subsequently been given the responsibility to live up to being the man John Ryan Dennison once was.

As an organization, Mission43 tries to be ruthless in creating opportunities for military families to continue to be contributing members of the community. Through the pillars of education, employment, purpose, and connection we ask, “what are you going to accomplish?”

This Memorial Day we will join Higher Ground Sun Valley and take part in the Carry the Load Sun Valley Rally. Carry the Load is a nonprofit dedicated to creating active and meaningful ways to honor the sacrifices of our military, law enforcement, firefighters, and first responders. The question they ask, “who are you carrying?”

In a few weeks, we will sit down with Lisa Hallett at our next 43INC. Lisa is a Gold Star wife and founder of wear blue: run to remember. She turned to running after her husband, John Hallett, was killed on August 25, 2009 in Afghanistan. The wear blue community joins together in a circle of remembrance, calls out the name(s) for whom they run, and then move onward to honor and remember.

So, with deep gratitude I am proud to know many people first hand who are remembered on Memorial Day. They have given us an incredible gift making us responsible for each day, a when we greet each other on the other side, may it be said “well done.”

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Bryan Madden (bryan.madden@mission43.org) is the Director of Mission43. He served on active duty in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and now continues to serve in the Idaho Air National Guard. He discovered Idaho while visiting a friend from the Army in 1999. That trip ultimately inspired him to move to Boise with his family in 2010.