In 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic created Decoration Day to honor the soldiers who died in the U.S. Civil War. Since then, the day has evolved into Memorial Day, a national holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May each year.
In 2014, my younger brother, also a combat veteran, died in a motorbike accident in Thailand. All our lives, we had been fiercely protective and loyal toward each other. I had served with the Army Reserves as a civil affairs officer in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. After I separated from the military in 2007, struggling with anxiety from war, he joined. I provided guidance from the states while he was in Iraq. When he came home in 2010, I thought the big worries of my life were over; that if I stuck to my plan, life would all work out. But when he died, my life ended, too. When he died, I needed to build a new life, or I would have become mired in grief permanently. I moved abroad to Australia.