Because I am a regular fan of the hit television show called Army Wives, I have a whole new appreciation & understanding for this holiday and what it truly signifies for me.
I am thankful for this day ... Memorial Day ... for several reasons.
I love this day because it is a "kick off" to summer and there is a lot of excitement and fun in the air. We, in the Midwest, are desperate for sun and warmth :) The weather has gotten better (a bit 'odd' I might add!), the flowers have popped out of the earth, our neighbors are starting to come out of their winter hibernation ... we are pulling weeds and dropping mulch in the flower beds and getting our summer yard ready for the kids we know are coming~
Yet, this day also brings feelings of sadness for me along with the good.
Army Wives has done a very nice job of blending important issues involved with military families. There is this nice mixture of family, friendship, love, morals, American pride, but then also, the tough issues like death, loss, grief, and PTSD are also bravely addressed.
The real issues facing our military and their families.
The issues that I like to ignore or push aside for another day. The hard stuff of life. The reality of our war. It is why I tend to turn off the radio or news when I hear that yet another one of our soldiers has paid the ultimate price.
I turn away because I don't want to feel sad ... because it is sad. But then our Flag reminds me that I have the right to stand proud.
Unfortunately, I've learned how easily it is for me to take what I have and what I've been given for granted.
With all of my mixed emotions of sadness yet 'fun in the air' feelings, I also feel a whole lot of pride. A good pride.
The pride of being able to say I live in America and I am free.
After all, my dad served in the Navy. Mark served in the Army; he was stationed in Germany. We do have 2 boys who have like this gun 'obsession' and as their mom, my mind & heart do go to that place of What if? when I think of their future choices.
We, also, have dear friends who currently serve and sacrifice and give for our country in some fashion or another. We know of families where this day brings only sadness.
I choose to pause now a moment longer when I see the American flag flying -- the Red, White, & Blue colors -- and I stop to remember what I have and what I've been given and what others gave for me ... for all of us.
What our soldiers sacrifice every single day to keep our freedoms in place.
War or not.
I pause to Remember.
I pause to give Thanks.
I pause to give Honor where it is due.
For me ... my rights ... my freedoms.
And, honestly, I have taken it all for granted.
I have "skipped" voting day because I didn't 'feel' like it or figured I didn't know enough to make the best choice anyway. I figured one vote -- my vote -- didn't matter. Recent elections have taught me that one vote really does matter ... my right to vote.
I have the "right" to go to any single church I want, when I want, and openly speak about what I believe - without fear for my life.
I don't have to "hide" to worship and praise my God or even hide my bible from view ... my freedom of religion.
I had the "right" to start this blog and I have the "right" to continue it and write about anything my heart desires ... my freedom of speech.
I had the "right" to walk into any gun shop of my choosing a few months back; simply fill out a few forms; hand over my driver's license; learn how to use & operate my new firearm. And within 48 hours I was another proud gun owner in America ... my right to keep and bear arms.
Hmm ... my mind shifts to other countries - to those much, much less fortunate than I. I think about what people are willing to do to get what I have ... my rights ... my freedoms ... the gift of my tomorrows.
The gift of just being able to live in America. To just be standing in the space I stand in.
What was sacrificed for me.
Today, on this Memorial Day, I choose to stand in a place of thankfulness and gratitude.
I will end on this note: Because I am a 'visual learner' and I love 'word pictures,' I just had to copy/paste this e-mail that you see below because pictures really do speak a thousand words.
My wish for you Today is that you also take it all in ... the fun and sun and cookouts and parades and family time ... and Enjoy! but also to give pause like I am and remember.
To give Honor and Thanks to whom it is due.
Happy Memorial Day!
It is the
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.