My name is Joe Kemp, and I currently work as a Scouting Assistant in Football Operations for the New Orleans Saints. I began working for the organization in May of 2018, and I am still incredibly grateful for such a rare opportunity to work for a group of people who are passionate about their work.
I was born and raised in Texas, and after graduating high school, I attended Tulane University on a football scholarship. I had a very rewarding experience during my time at Tulane, even though I enjoyed more wins with the Saints in the 2018 season than I did in my entire career at Tulane: Roll Wave!
As I entered my final year of college, I began my search to figure out what I wanted to do next in life. I was a well below-average football player, and the XFL had yet to be revived, so I, unfortunately, knew that continuing to play football was immediately out of the option. I knew I wanted to do something that would challenge me, both mentally and physically. I knew I wanted to continue being a part of a team that worked together to achieve a common goal.
And I knew that I wanted to still wear cool uniforms now and then at my job. All of these things lead me to become a United States Marine. When you go through the indoctrination process of earning the title of Marine, the Marine Corps does an outstanding job at not only transforming yourself physically but mentally as well. Marines, above all else, are known for their fierce loyalty and commitment to Country and Corps.
One of the reasons that young Marines become so committed to earning the title of Marine each day is that we were taught early on of the countless number of heroic examples of self-sacrifice that Marines before us had committed. You feel the weight of their undaunted courage on your shoulders as you prepare yourself for your own story to be written. Read Corporal Jason Dunham's Medal of Honor citation from Iraq in 2004, and you will understand what I mean. Memorial Day, to me, is about one thing and one thing only: remembrance.
Growing close with a fellow Marine, meeting their spouse, their children, learning of their future goals and dreams... you grow to feel responsible for protecting them at all costs. And that feeling of responsibility only increases when a service member loses their life while in the line of duty.
There is no greater sacrifice one can make than giving their own life, so another can be saved. They MUST be remembered, and it is our duty to ensure that it happens.
Over the last 18 years of continuous combat operations for the United States throughout the Middle East, 6,713 Service Members have lost their lives in support of America and her ideals.
This Memorial Day, I ask you all that have made it this far in the article to help keep the memory alive of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. They deserve it.