If you are on social media of any kind than you have been seeing memes like this:
It most certainly is a day to remember those who lost not only their lives, but arms, legs, and a mind free of awful images, so that we can go about our day to day lives, complaining about there being no more bottled water in the fridge. These men and women give up a huge part of themselves, to do things and see things we will never know or hear about. The United States Military has personnel in over 150 countries covering 75% of the world. They sacrifice the comforts of home, decent meals, and do not always get the respect they deserve when trying to help others.
Military presence in other countries is also how rugby came to the United States. British Soldiers brought the game here, passed it on to American Soldiers. Many military bases have rugby clubs that play other bases, clubs or in social tournaments. It's a game they can carry over seas with them and play where ever they maybe stationed and probably find a pitch to play on. Many rugby teams and clubs have ex-military guys on their teams as well.
Each year beside the military classic tournaments, there is also the Armed Forces Rugby Championship, which has grown from a few spectators on a military base, to large supporting crowds to support and cheer on all-star Armed Forces teams representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. These men and women deserve to be supported not just on Memorial Day, which is a not the happiest of holidays, but doing something they enjoy.
So when you see a Veteran, be it this weekend, on the pitch, or at a bar, take a moment to tell them "Thanks" for all they've done, and what they carry with them daily, so we don't have to. They are why we have the sport of rugby here in the U.S. as well as many other parts of they world.
Victor Cahn describes rugby best, with words that make me think is why so many military groups play rugby.
In our country, true teams rarely exist . . . social barriers and personal ambitions have reduced athletes to dissolute cliques or individuals thrown together for mutual profit . . . Yet these rugby players. with their muddied, cracked bodies, are struggling to hold onto a sense of humanity that we in America have lost and are unlikely to regain. The game may only be to move a ball forward on a dirt field, but the task can be accomplished with an unshackled joy and its memories will be a permanent delight. The women and men who play on that rugby field are more alive than too many of us will ever be. The foolish emptiness we think we perceive in their existence is only our own.