On Saturday morning, we raised the American flag in our front yard at our house as we do most holidays. By 8am, as we have done on most Saturdays over the last 8 years of Memorial Day weekend, we joined other Boy Scouts at a Veterans Cemetery here in Middle Tennessee to place flags on the graves of the fallen. A simple acknowledgement of sacrifice.

My education on the cost of war has increased.

Almost a year ago now, a young Ranger named Cody Patterson sat immediately to my left in a small group as a part of a discussion on a retreat serving Soldiers.

Four months later on October 6th, he was killed in action during combat operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Three other Soldiers, SGT Patrick Hawkins, 1st Lt. Jennifer Moreno and Special Agent Joseph Peters were also killed. Multiple IEDs exploded with a reported 30 wounded.

When I heard, I mourned Cody’s death. I prayed for those Soldiers who survived. I prayed for Cody’s twin sister, whom he held in such high regard, and for his family. And I searched the web for news.

Six months later almost to the day I was allowed to sit in a circle of men as they remembered and spoke candidly about Pfc. Cody Patterson and Sgt. Patrick “Hawk” Hawkins. I felt the weight of the remembrance. They lived it.

More recently, I spent some time with a genuine military hero. He’s a godly man quietly working out the effects of war. Too quietly. Honorably. He carries the scars of war.

Last night, our family watched Captain Phillips. I had such satisfaction when the threat was eliminated with such precision and Captain Phillips was set free. The responsiveness, the professional discipline, the high level of commitment and dedication to craft all make me proud to be an American.

I also felt for the Somalis whose political and socioecomonic circumstances moved them to action. I wonder how I would respond if in similar circumstances.

I remember that there are interwoven circumstances and choices that come together to make war a reality. I remember that there are some who obey their orders and put themselves in harms way.

And so, on Memorial Day, I remember. I don’t have a long list of names of my friends who died in the line of duty. But I have friends who do. And I mourn with them.