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NXT Superstar Kenneth Crawford's Memorial Day blog

Memorial Day, aka Declaration Day, is an important time to reflect on fallen brothers and sisters in arms. This is not to be confused with Veterans Day, which honors prior or current member’s service. Memorial Day focuses more on the brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice. During my tenure in the Marines, I knew and lost fellow 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Marines (Hoorah Highlanders, “Tip of the Spear”). Along with former Battalion members, I take heed to reflect and remember them on this day. We remember them for what they did, their influence on us, their families and peers, and their sacrifice for this great country. 

I was fortunate enough to serve this great country from September 2008 to September 2012. I graduated high school and went straight to boot camp. I didn't have a job prior, so my first one was being a United States Marine. Pretty cool! I could go on for months with stories and memories with great people from my time in the service - all of our great times, testing times and physically and emotionally demanding times. But the one thing I loved the most was the brotherhood and sisterhood you created while in service. I’ve been off active duty for three-plus years and I still keep in contact with my fellow Marines. Every time we speak, there’s always a memory or moment we reflect on, because we are family.

When you are training, living, eating and working with people every day, blood cannot make you any closer. It's especially true when you know and realize that the person to your left or right may be the one to save you life one day - whether you’re on liberty, in the states, or on combat deployed. So when we lose a fellow brother or sister, it hurts because they chose the same career and path you did. You mature with them. Some of your personal life experiences are with them. You live very important moments of your life with them. Since I was straight out of high school, my early stages of learning adulthood were assisted by some of my brothers. But the fallen paid the ultimate sacrifice. So it is truly losing family.

To honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, learn about this county’s history throughout the years and the sacrifices of previous wars and battles by previous members to get to the point we are now. Reflect on every life lost in battle and the people who were affected by their sacrifice. Visit memorial sites and see what particular members passed and what their detailed duty or role was while serving. Visit a memorial service and speak to family members who lost their loved ones. There are lots of ways to honor them, but overall, just know and acknowledge the lives lost for our freedom and liberty. 

WWE’s commitment to the military is one of the best in the world. WWE's acknowledgement to the military has always been great. Every day, fellow Superstars either ask about or thank me for my service. The level of respect is so high and they really appreciate and understand the sacrifice. It also helps that some Superstars were in the service, relate to the trials and talk about their experience to other Superstars. It’s cool knowing and hearing how different or similar times were. For example, when I spoke to Mr. James (Road Dogg) in Dallas, he told me about the time he was in, and it’s crazy to hear the similarities between then and when I was active. 

I plan to use that same platform in WWE that I used in the service. That platform is acknowledging the sacrifices. Those sacrifices are not seeing my family and children everyday. Furthermore, it is important to know that as a Superstar, there are trials. I’m sacrificing my body and mind to entertain the WWE Universe. This is a dream, and just like my time in the service, I wouldn’t ask for it any other way. “There can be no victory, triumph, or progress in life without sacrifice.”

To all of the families who have lost a fallen brother or sister in arms, it is not unnoticed, as they are the true and ultimate heroes.