By Sean Tiner
What is Memorial Day? Is it a day to mourn? Is it a day to celebrate life?
Traditionally, Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and woman who gratefully dedicated their lives serving in the United States Armed Forces, but is it also a time for us to remember the loved ones that we have lost in our own lives.
For the past 10 years, each Memorial Day brings bittersweet emotions. Each year it seems that a metaphoric notch is carved into my memory, as I’m constantly reminded about how my brother Mark Tiner and his friend Max Sadler lost their lives an automobile accident over the 2004 holiday weekend. Both of the boys were 17 and had so much life ahead of them.
At the same time, the Laguna Beach community rallied around my family and helped us establish memorial funds in Mark’s honor. It’s been rewarding to share the community’s support with fellow Laguna Beach High School graduates and also expand the scholarship to help other graduates in financially needy Orange County communities, such as Santa Ana and Anaheim. It is through Mark’s loss that others have been touched and continue to be impacted by the community’s generosity.
At the same time, not every loss will be memorialized. Sometimes it is through a loss that we remember what we have. Let this Memorial Day be a day to remember our loved ones, but also a day to acknowledge that every day is a gift and you decide how you open each precious one.
By Jim Sadler
Since Max and Mark passed away 10 years ago, we have marked Max’s abundant life by taking seniors from the Laguna Presbyterian Church on mission trips around the globe and by celebrating with our friends on Memorial Day every year.