Today is Memorial Day. In the years past I honestly, shamefully, didn’t understand the real meaning of this day. I know it’s not an excuse, but I didn’t grow up in a military family and didn’t know anyone really close to me that had served. Then I married my husband, who did come from a military background and has a twin brother who has been in the military ever since I’ve known him. Then last July a classmate of mine / friend of my husband and his friends was killed in action.
All funerals are sad but going to that military funeral was up there on my list as one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever experienced. Seeing people line the streets for the motorcycle escort from the airport to the funeral home; some of whom didn’t even know TJ, but just wanted to show their support. At the funeral, watching the flag get folded and then handed to TJ’s wife and mom. Hearing the 21-gun salute. Listening to the bagpipes play Amazing Grace…
It suddenly hit me that these people in the military have died for me. That people like my brother-in-law are willing to give up their life for their country. That people like TJ have given up their life. They are out there risking their life to protect people like me, who don’t even have a clue what they are doing over there. They give up time with their family and kids so that I can be with my family and kids. And for that I am so thankful. And unfortunately, sometimes they don’t ever get to come home. And the fact that they know that is a possibility and then still want to do their job is what makes them a hero to me.
Now when I see the American flag, or hear the Star Spangled Banner, or see someone in uniform, I feel extremely proud to live in this great country. It’s great because of servicemen (and women) like my brother-in-law and TJ (and several other family members). Happy Memorial Day everyone!