Some give everything for the greater good. Everyone must give something.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” —Joseph Campbell
It is indeed the "ultimate sacrifice", a life lost on the battlefields of war, or in the fight against crime, or in any service to others. And it's the ultimate fear of any parent, losing their child even for a good cause. So it is that we need to remember all the parents of the fallen men and women that we honor on this memorial day. Let's honor their sacrifice, even as we recoil from the thought of it.
But let's not ever turn away from the idea of sacrifice. In fact, let's embrace it. The importance of sacrifice and its transformative power is, I believe, one of the most important things we can teach our children. Nothing important in life -- not even our health -- is realized without it. Big things are made possible by our willingness to pay for them with our time and our sweat, occasionally our tears and -- yes -- sometimes our blood.
Joseph Campbell's definition of a hero giving their life to something bigger than oneself is not something I take literally. By that, I mean I don't believe lives have to be lost in order to serve heroic ends. But they do have to be given -- given to service, given to communities, given to ideals that we want to turn into reality. And in that way, we can all be heroes.