Because Freedom isn't Free...
I am quite proud to know that I come from a long line of people willing to lay their lives down for their country. For my country. I always knew that dedication to service goes back at least a few generations, but I did not realize how far back until I started digging through Ancestry.com and also talking to my family and Hubby's.
My Dad, my grand-Dad's and even further back, my Hubby, my ex, many uncles, cousins, in-laws and nephews so many have proudly stood watch and protected us.
I struggle with the future, I struggle with our current administration and where we are going. When I look back at the proud past, it bothers me that for future generations it might not be such a proud and noble choice.
My Hubby's uncle passed away on foreign shores on his birthday October 11, he died protecting our freedom. Every time I see his gravestone, it rips at my heart. I have an uncle buried at Arlington. And across the street from where I am sitting now is a WWI memorial.
When we lived in Europe, I took my son and did many memorial walks. We've walked Normandy beach, Bastone (the location of the Battle of the Bulge), and stood at the Luxembourg Memorial honoring General Patton, I proudly stood there with the young men that I was guiding through their history. My pride in the American men and women never wavering.
I have had the honor of watching our young scouts walk through a WWI cemetery in France to honor our American soldiers laid to rest after serving. Participated in many memorials around this world. I have had so many wonderful opportunities to participate in and witness the reverence and respect our veterans have earned.
Today as I sit here, there are no words that will describe my gratitude to all those that have taken the oath to serve us. Because of all those unselfish individuals, I can sit here and type the words that enter my mind.
In 1791 our Bill of Rights was signed. Generations have defended those rights and they continue to do that today. It's powerful.
Our Veteran's deserve to be cherished and deserve our eternal gratitude. From the E-1 fresh from boot camp to the highest ranking officers, thank you! Thank you for answering the call of your counrty. To insure we are forever a free and grateful nation. Thank you for putting your own needs aside.
And thank you to their families. As a military dependent and spouse, I can honestly tell you there were many times that I wanted my Daddy to be home, but had to wait. There were times I did not want to be a married single mother. There were many times that I sat in fear, listening to the news, waiting for a phone call or letter. There were times that I hated having to share my loved ones with the needs of the world. That is sometimes very hard to accept.
Each time one of the children I've known takes the oath to protect us, I feel overwhelmed with pride and fear. Several of those young men that I have stood on those historic battle fields and military cemeteries with has now served our country on battlegrounds of their own far from home. I am blessed that thus far all have come home. I cannot even fathom the pain for those who did not return.
Many of my classmates have served, this is probably not surprising considering I am a "military brat", a title we claim proudly! Even today, more people I know have served or serve than not. And I am a full decade away from that life.
My sweet Hubby served so long ago. Long before our lives intersected, back when it was far from popular for our young men and women to do so. Probably more so because we knew not what we were fighting for and because it seemed we were dooming our men and women simply for a political game. Despite it all he signed up, he wasn't drafted (he joined the military because he was tired of his mother telling him what to do - probably not the best reason to join the military - guess no one told him how much they were going to tell him what to do!).
I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of his determination to thank everyone that has served and is proud enough of that service to wear a hat, vest, or even simply have veteran plates. My sweet Hubby walks up to complete strangers and always thanks them for their service. He proudly wears his Vietnam Veteran hat and shares his stories with all his brothers and sisters. I usually stand silently by, so proud, but not intruding. Because I cannot understand what they are sharing, I wasn't there.
Last night, was one of the very few times that I have ever heard anyone thank him for his service without him saying something first. In that tiny little diner, a man eating with his mom and son, took one look at Hubby's hat and without hesitation reached out his hand and thanked my sweet Hubby for his service. I know it doesn't happen often, and though he didn't say it, I could see the look of sheer gratitude in those soft blue eyes.
I am the wife, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, cousin, sister-in-law, aunt, friend and much more to Vet's, and I am so proud to be able to say that!
Thank a Veteran, they have given so much, it's the least they deserve!