I know I can’t do our fallen heroes justice, so let’s start with that understanding. I cannot say anything that comes close to showing my appreciation for their sacrifice. No amount of words can let the families left behind know just how grateful we as a nation are for their sacrifice. I have friends who lost their husbands in defense of this country and I am continually amazed at their strength and grace.
I realized something today, something that I’ve always known in my mind but rarely allow to filter down into my heart: I am but one bullet away from being a widow. One IED away from having someone hand me a folded flag.
As a civilian, Memorial Day was a day off from school; a day for cook outs and spending time with my family. I assure you that I never knew what it meant. Veteran’s Day is the day to salute the men and women who have served our country. I love to see the men who wear their black baseball caps and proudly. When we lived in the states we’d see these men all over the place and would go out of our way to say, “Thank you for your service.”
But Memorial Day is the day we specifically remember the fallen; those who didn’t come home. It’s also a day to keep those who were left behind on the forefront of our minds. Mary-Anne and Carleen are often on my heart.
So this weekend I pause to think of what my freedom cost them. What my right to free speech cost the soldiers who paid the ultimate price and what their loved ones sacrificed as well. I sat in church today with Parker happily playing in the nursery, my three bigs and sitting to my left, and my husband to my right; a complete family. We watched a video clip of two men sharing with a little boy what his father had meant to them. They threw “Stones of Remembrance” into the water as they recalled the ways the little boy’s dad had impacted their lives. It was impossible to not think of my boys standing in that spot… It happens. It’s real. And it hurts to think about.
As I said at the start, I can’t do these soldiers or their families justice. I can’t find the right words to say thank you. And so, admitting that, I will conclude with this:
Click here to leave a note of remembrance for 2LT Charles R. Rubado.
Click here to see a video of SSG Michael D. Elledge, but be warned that those of us in Germany can’t see the video due to music rights.
T*A*P*S is an organization devoted to helping families through the grief that follows losing a service member. Here is their mission statement:
TAPS provides immediate and long-term emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America. TAPS meets its mission by providing peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, casework assistance, and connections to community-based care.
Click here to get involved.