I have always considered myself to be a patriotic person. I love my country and I have the deepest respect for those men and women who devote all or part of their lives whether it be for a day, a month, or years in service to our country through the armed forces. I think growing up for most of my childhood on various military bases as a "military brat" definitely shaped a lot of my view points and values. If you haven't lived on base then its just not something you would understand. I don't mean for that to sound elitist but it really is different. It's almost its own sort of sub culture. Everyone has some big things in common. You move all the time so you totally get what its like being the new kid, therefore being the new kid isn't a big deal, you make friends fast and easy. You keep in touch with your friends because even when you move away you may see them at the next base. This used to happen to me all the time. I saw a kid I was in 3rd grade with while I lived in Okinawa several years later when my dad was stationed in North Carolina. It was crazy! I feel like the friendships forged between those serving together and their spouses are more like the relationships you have with family because you don't have family nearby. You just sort of adopt each other, you become each other's family. There is such a sense of comradery and community that I have never experienced in any other "civilian" neighborhood or town I've lived in. Anyway, I have one more special memory to share and I'll move on! I can distinctly remember being outside on the playgrounds playing with friends and stopping in our tracks when it was "colors" time. You could be in the middle of the most intense game of tag and when that song came on signifying the lowering of the flag and you knew you had better stop and stand up straight. My favorite part is that there were no adults around, it was just something you did. It was something every kid did. Okay..I lied...one more thing that just gets me is the National Anthem. It does something for me, maybe its cheesy but I can't hear that song and not get teary eyed. Last thing I promise.....another song that just gets me....every time... America the Beautiful when Ray Charles sings it. I get goosebumps for days! Thanks for going down memory lane with me.
I guess with Memorial Day being tomorrow I am just really reflective and grateful. I can never repay those brave soldiers who died while serving, but I can give them all of my respect, remembrance, and honor. And I do. I am so proud to be an American and I never want to take for granted their sacrifices. I was thinking about all of the friends and families of fallen soldiers who have had to move on in life without their loved ones and I was just overcome with gratitude to them as well...
they sacrifice too; often silently.
This is hard to admit but in the past it has been easier for me to think of those fallen as only soldiers...it seems simpler and more sterile to think this way. My heart breaks if I allow myself to think of the humaneness of the fallen and the loved ones left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives. But this year and from now on I want to give my respect by recognizing and truly grasping the gravity of their sacrifice. I don't want to shy away because the truth isn't pretty and simple. So even though I can barely type these words without crying (and thats okay) here are some of those other titles those who love and miss them would use to define them. Titles like; daddy, momma, daughter, son, best friend, comrade, partner in crime, hero, brother, bubba, sister, sissy, teacher, coach, mentor, companion, lover, husband, wife, fiancé, school mate, grandpa, grandma, grandson, granddaughter, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, favorite person...I can't even begin to list all of the roles these men and women fill, this infinite list will never be complete.
I know Memorial Day is "said" to be the start of Summer and sometimes in the excitement of the weekend its easy to lose sight of the true meaning. I'm all for BBQ's and picnics, and friends gathering together. In fact, I think it's awesome that their sacrifice can be remembered and celebrated when we come together in like mindedness and appreciation for all the freedoms we have. It's also a great opportunity to talk to our kids about Memorial Day. Landy and I made cupcakes for our church's picnic today and we added little flags to them. He is only 3 but I did explain to him that soldiers died trying to protect us and keep us safe and sometimes keeping other people safe in other places. He got it as much as a 3 year old can but I want to establish early on respect and reverence for those who serve.
So in the midst of our fun celebrating maybe we can just remember to say and extra prayer of gratitude for those who gave their lives and for their families who may or may not be celebrating this weekend. I plan on setting an alarm on my phone so that at 3P tomorrow I can show a fraction of my gratitude and respect with a moment of silence where I truly take the time to acknowledge the depth and weight Memorial Day holds.
I came across a quote by George S. Patton and I thought he had an interesting way of thinking of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He said; "It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived"
I don't know if I can completely get behind every word but I totally get the sentiment.
I did and will celebrate this Memorial Day weekend but I will also remember.
|They were as good as they looked!|
|He was very proud of his "USA" cupcake!|
|Also, he HAD to decorate w/ Christmas trees because what could be more American....|
|I dropped some frosting and obviously it is frosting poop and its hilarious and its delicious on graham crackers! Oh Landy!|
|He was so excited for the picnic!|
|See what I mean!|
|Something I just loved about this picture! It seems so "Americana"|
|Seriously...if someone captured me doing this it would be grotesque NOT adorable!|
|Landy and Bella sittin in a tree.....|
|NOT k-i-s-s-i-n-g see what I did there........|
|Landy's other sweet friend..too cute not to share! Poster girl for all American girl next door!|
-Francis Marion Crawford