Memorial day is a day to give our thanks to the fallen. It is because of so many that we are able to stand here today, free. I don't know all of my family tree (although Ancestory.com has been a huge help) but I do know that my Grandfather was a WW II veteran, and my husband is active duty in the U.S. Military. It is through remembering the briefest times my grandfather shared about the war, that I find myself subdued into silence over his bravery.
It is easy to live our lives without much thought to the past, and I think those that lost their lives wouldn't want us pining over them. However, holiday's such as Memorial day remind me to be more grateful, more selfless, and appreciative.
My husband hates being recognized for his service, but I appreciate his sacrifice. He recently left us for a couple of weeks- a drop in the bucket in comparison to so many other military families, but the pain on his face as my four-year-old son cried out, "Daddy don't leave" was evident. Every single day my son would ask when his daddy was coming home, hopeful that maybe one day, the answer would be different than the usual, "not today" that I would rattle off my tounge as I engulfed him in a hug. For so many children, the answer has changed from, "not today" to "not again" and it is for those families that my heart goes out to in respect on Memorial day.
I had the pleasure of walking in a Memorial day parade this morning. I walked next to my local State Representative, and we waved to kids waving flags and babies in strollers. My State Representative was a military child and I a military spouse, and it felt odd that people were waving at us. I haven't made the sacrificies to earn waves of appreciation.
A few years ago I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. There is a part of the course where you run past hundreds of photos of fallen soliders. The huge amount of participants goes from actively talking to the only sounds being footsteps shuffling along. I recall the heaviness I suddenly felt in my chest as I dedicated myself to reading each name on one side of the road. It was an overwhelming amount of emotion for strangers and gratefulness, and powered me through the rest of the race.
Today, as I walked holding my daughter's hand along the parade route, I felt a similar emotion. At times I feel undeserving when so many have sacrificed. Yet I know it is my duty to do what I can to make the world better, just as those fallen were attempting to accomplish.
So today I urge you to comtemplate your own contribution to the world, and what you are doing to make it a little brighter. Let us be a little bit more selfless, a little bit more forgiving, and a little bit more patient with others, and continue to love one another.