The Independent Market Observer

Memorial Day Reflections

Posted by Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

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This entry was posted on May 27, 2016 2:40:55 PM

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memorial dayI’ve been struggling all morning, trying to decide what to write today. I could talk about oil prices. I could talk about the relationship between consumer confidence and wage growth (not as strong as you’d think). I could talk about the real risks we face as investors and what we should be worrying about.

I could talk about all of these things, and I will. But not today.

Today is the day we prepare for Memorial Day. Some would call this the start of summer, a beach weekend, and it is that. But let’s also remember just why we're able to enjoy the life we do, and why we have the luxury of worrying about our investments and our weekends. We owe that to the men and women who paid the highest price to preserve our freedom to do as we choose.

I’ve written many times about gratitude and my practice of writing down, every day, three things for which I am grateful. Today and this weekend, my list will include our military and service members, past and present.

Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thanks to your families for their sacrifices. You stand apart from most citizens to defend the country against those who would harm it. You place my freedoms above your own lives. Everything I have, in some measure, I owe to you.

This is an election season, and as usual, there's no shortage of politicians crying out how important they are and how “real” Americans agree only with them. This is the surface noise of a democracy, but its core is the people who live it every day. Service members are the backbone on which everything else depends.

Over the past several weeks, I have been privileged to visit two aircraft carriers, the USS Yorktown and the USS Midway, and to talk with the docents there, many of whom served on those ships and others. Bob, my guide on the Midway, spent 30 years in the Navy and was a wonderful advertisement for just how good our service members really are. Seeing those ships, and hearing the stories of young men and women at war, brings home just how fortunate we are that they were willing to step up when needed.

We'll return next week to the usual economic and financial commentary. Today, though, I will remember everyone who has served our country, and say a quiet thank-you for everything they have helped preserve for me and, more important, for my son.

Not least among those veterans is my father. Thanks, Dad.

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