For many Americans, Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer. BBQs. Camping. Chillin’ at the beach.
But that isn’t what Memorial Day was created for.
Today is the day to honor our loved ones in the military who have lost their lives in service to this country. For many Americans it is a day filled with grave site visits and flowers and tears and remembering…
Almost 8% of all living Americans have served in the military that means there will be many heavy hearts today…and that doesn’t count all the families who have been touched by having a service member in their midst.
My father never served. But my Uncles did.
My Uncle Earl, a Sergeant in the United States Army Air Force, was anxious to get home during World War II. He volunteered for a super secret mission because he was promised it would be his last if he made it back alive. He didn’t. His plane was shot down on March 6, 1945, his body never recovered.
My Grandma never forgave the Japanese and refused to have anything in her house with the words “Made in Japan” stamped on it.
Her other son, my Uncle Evald, made it out alive but then worked in the Copper Mines of the Upper Peninsula for the next thirty years. A dirty, grimy job that has surely put his body to the test.
My brother-in-law, Joel, served twenty plus years as a Marine but only made it to Afghanistan as a contractor after he retired. He was yearning to be part of the action and hated missing the war but his wife, my sister Linda, and the rest of the family, only breathed a sigh of relief when he retired in August of 2001, just a month before September 11th.
His son, my nephew, Zachary, is now serving as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. He just got back from his first overseas mission off the eastern coastline of Saudi Arabia to the island of Bahrain.
And let’s not forget my sweet Cousin Ida who served proudly for twenty plus years!
Thank you Uncle Earl, Uncle Evald, Joel, Zachary and Cousin Ida.
Today I thank every man and woman who has ever served our great country.
I am grateful for your dedication. Your bravery in the midst of war and separation from their loved ones. Your never-ending love of our country.
Thank you for keeping us free. God Bless America.
Oh and I have one request.
Be gentle today. Be kind. It’s a tough day for so many families.
Go about your day with extra patience and extra love. And imagine my arms around you too. I know what’s it like to lose people you love…
Let’s all say a prayer for the troops still overseas away from their loved ones and families….
May you come home soon and safe.
Rhonda (with two proud Marines, nephew Zach and his dad Joel)
p.s. Now that I’ve been hanging out with Marines (I can’t get away from them now that they are in my family!) for over two decades…
Put aside your politics and your feelings about wars and guns, if you’re ever face to face with a bad guy, let me tell you…a Marine is who you want by your side.
Their motto “Semper Fidelis” meaning Always Faithful and they stand by the fact that it takes a special person to be one of The Few. The Proud. The Marines. (Let’s not even talk about the bootcamp!)
May we all learn from their devotion to serve.