I’ve often spoken about how frustrated it makes me for the true meaning of holidays to get lost in a sea of commercialism. Many people refer to this weekend as the unofficial start of summer full of cookouts and get togethers and of course there are the Memorial Day sales. I feel it is important for each of us to take time to truly acknowledge the reason we have a three day weekend.
The handsome young man, second from the right, in the photo above is my paternal grandfather. I’m uncertain of the year it was taken but he flew missions over Germany in World War II. I am taken aback at how young he truly looks in the photograph. All of the boys in this picture were just boys at the time, probably between 18 and 22. Like many of his generation, GrandDaddy never spoke to us about his time flying. I’ve inherited a few photographs taken from his plane which are priceless to me. (I also have an awesome one of him in his bomber jacket).
I am lucky that I did not have a relative die in war. My GrandDaddy returned to meet my Nanny and marry. Nanny’s brother was held in a German POW camp for months but was rescued. My Uncle fought in Vietnam. Each of them returned home and were able to lead productive lives as citizens.
As I looked at the above photograph, I realized the friends I have that went to fight in Desert Storm and that have done multiple tours in Afghanistan were equally young at the time they left home.
I do not come from what would be called a traditional military family but my life has been touched by those that have served. It is very easy to take our freedoms for granted. However, my freedom to openly share my thoughts and opinions is due to others being willing to protect me by going to battle with others.
Today I am grateful that my loved ones were able to return from the wars where they served. I am grateful for the high school and college friends who made decisions after September 2011 to serve and are now safe. I am grateful for the military clients I have sat with who have been willing to share their stories of trauma and resilience.
Although I do not know anyone personally who was unable to return from war, I am grateful for the young lives that were cut too short. I am grateful that there are those who aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe despite the costs. I am also grateful for the families that are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
Today I encourage you to take a few moments to be grateful for the men and women who have fought and died for our country in all of the wars. For more bits of gratitude, join Emily for Grateful Heart Monday.
I am forever grateful!