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Sentiments from Jackie: Memorial Day Beyond the Grill

jackie_memorial_day_blog

Well hello there Redskins Nation! Happy football season! (well almost..) 

With summer among us, we have a lot to look forward to; fun in the sun, warm weather, football season!! But it’s important to remember a very important holiday: Memorial day. Memorial Day (or Decoration Day) is a day of remembering and honoring the men and women whom have passed while serving in the United States Armed Forces. This is a holiday not distinguished by religion or race. You do not need to have family that has served in the Military, or have any direct correlation at all, but it is one that we can all admire, respect, and recognize. I want to take a moment and let you know what Memorial Day means to me…

Entering my 5th season as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader, I have been absolutely blessed with the opportunity to go on seven Military Tours. You may be wondering what exactly a “Military Tour” entails. A group of ladies, and sometimes alumni players, travel around the globe visiting Military troops at their bases. On my seven tours, I have traveled to 16 countries; some including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kosovo, Germany, Kuwait, Djibouti, Italy, and the list goes on. 

On these tours, we are given the chance to see what our troops overseas do on a daily basis. They take us on tours of their different departments within the bases. We get to tour the battleships, fly in the helicopters, sit in fighter jets, eat in military DFAC’s with service men and women, ride in tanks, interact with military dogs, and so many other cool things that I could spend a full day listing. It’s an opportunity for them to be proud of what they do, and show that to complete outsiders whom have no idea what goes into their daily lives. So not only is it extremely fulfilling for us, but for them as well. We perform a variety show, and make it as interactive as possible. It’s an opportunity for them to forget about all of the hard work and hardships that they might be enduring, and bring a “little piece of home” and lightness to their lives. Trust me, watching a full-grown man in uniform do the worm across the stage, is enough to bring tears of joy to anyone.

Although this all sounds very high intensity, we also do “normal” things with these men and women. We eat every meal with them. Spend hours sitting and talking about their families. Learning about their life outside of the military. Which is all a part of what led them there in the first place. We get to know them as civilians, which is just as important to us (and them) as learning about their military life. We also interact a lot with children! What I didn’t realize going into tours, is that some

As I have interacted with thousands of military personnel and families on tours, I have an entire new outlook on the true meaning of Memorial Day. While we sometimes overlook this holiday, as it is considered the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, I encourage you to please take a moment to reflect on what the true meaning of the holiday is; to remember those whom have fallen to give our country the freedom that we sometimes take for granted. To acknowledge the brave men and women who have fought for this amazing country. May we never forget them. God bless you all, and God bless the USA!

Much love, 

Jackie

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