The last Monday in May is Memorial Day, a federal holiday for remembering those who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. I began to develop an understanding of the true meaning of Memorial Day approximately ten years ago while working with elderly clients in my legal practice. I had the opportunity to meet Veterans who served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. I heard firsthand their stories of war: their accomplishments, their sorrows, their fears, and their nightmares.

memorial day

My understanding of the importance of Memorial Day continued to grow when I started CrossFit five years ago. CrossFit celebrates those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom by dedicating a Hero WOD in their honor. These WODs are tough. They push you mentally and physically. Every time I see a Hero WOD programmed, I make it a point to look up that service member’s bio in order find out more about them and to honor them and their family in some small way. The sad part is there are too many Hero WODs.

CrossFit has also introduced me to a new generation of Veterans. Veterans who fought in the Iraq War, and those who continue to fight the War on Terror. They were not drafted. They believe in this country and they are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice in her service. They and their families are some of the most unselfish people I have ever met.

On Saturday, May 23, 2015, 55 of our athletes came together to pay tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice by participating in WOD with Warriors. The WOD is named “21 Guns” and consists of five movements. The name represents the 21 Gun Salute, which is the highest display of honor, appropriately reserved for our fallen troops on Memorial Day. The WOD is intended to replicate this honor with a 21-minute workout and 21 repetitions of five exercises for each of the branches of the military. It was an honor to participate in this event alongside our CFG Veterans and Heroes.

May 25, 2015, will be the day that we will remember the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It will also be 11th anniversary of the death of Army Pfc. James P. Lambert. Lambert was killed while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom when an IED hit his patrol in Fallujah, Iraq.

Many of us will never fully understand the true meaning of Memorial Day. We will never know the heartaches of these fallen Warriors’ friends and families. I hope I never take another Memorial Day for granted.  Thank you to all who have served.

The profound impact of Memorial Day extends beyond the stories of the past and the strenuous Hero WODs of CrossFit. It delves into a deeper reflection on the sacrifices made by those in the armed forces and their families. The experiences and narratives shared by these veterans paint a vivid picture of bravery, sacrifice, and the harsh realities of war. These stories are not just tales of the past; they are reminders of ongoing commitments and the continuous struggles faced by service members.

In my interactions with these heroes and their loved ones, I have come to realize that Memorial Day is more than a day of remembrance. It is a day of gratitude and reflection. It’s a time to acknowledge not only those who have fallen but also those who continue to bear the burdens of war long after they’ve left the battlefield. The physical and emotional scars carried by these veterans are a testament to their courage and the price of the freedom we often take for granted.

Moreover, Memorial Day has become a personal call to action for me. It’s a reminder to engage more actively in supporting veteran communities, to listen to their stories, and to offer help wherever possible. Whether it’s through participating in community events, volunteering with veteran-focused organizations, or simply taking the time to understand the challenges they face, every action counts.

As we approach Memorial Day, let us not only remember the fallen but also honor the living – the veterans who walk among us. Let’s take this opportunity to educate ourselves and our younger generations about the sacrifices made for our country. Let’s ensure that the true meaning of this day is not lost in the midst of barbecues and retail sales. This Memorial Day, let’s commit to holding the stories of our heroes in our hearts, to keep their memories alive, and to express our gratitude not just in words, but through our actions and continuous support.


~ Carrie