When a lot of people think of Memorial Day, it’s about burgers, hot dogs and the unofficial beginning of summer.
The real meaning of the holiday, of course, is remembering those who lost their lives protecting our country.
So it’s only fitting that the most famous Patriot reached out to the family of a true patriot.
Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed May 5 during a firefight in Somalia. By all accounts, the 38-year-old was a leader who touched the lives of everyone with whom he came in contact.
That includes Tom Brady.
According to Boston Herald columnist Bill Speros, Milliken and Brady met six years ago at Gillette Stadium when the SEALs showed several New England Patriots the workouts they went through to prepare for action.
Following their workouts, the SEALs spent time with coach Bill Belichick, Brady and other team members. Milliken, a native of Falmouth, Maine, posed for a photo with his favorite quarterback.
When Brady learned Milliken had been killed by al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabaab forces earlier this month, he took action.
The quarterback sent a video message to be played during Milliken’s funeral in Norfolk, Virginia.
In the video, Brady thanked Milliken’s family (wife Erin and two children) for the sacrifice they had made, and talked about how Milliken’s track coach at UConn called him a “glue guy.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft also issued a statement after Milliken’s death:
“It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.
“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”
Nothing will ever make up for losing a son, father and husband, but it’s good to see on Memorial Day weekend that the football Patriots recognize the real patriots.