Today is a day in which we honor the men and women that lost their lives fighting for our freedom, for our country. Today is Memorial Day.
To many, this just means a three-day weekend to party and drink a lot of alcohol. To some, it’s about the sales at numerous businesses. To me, it’s about truly honoring those who have fought in the United States Armed Forces and lost their lives defending this country and my freedom.
I am not a military anything: wife, girlfriend, daughter, mother, anything. My grandfather fought in the Army, and I wish I would have asked him about it more before he passed away but I didn’t. I know he was there, and then he was home, as the grandfather I always knew. I do not know first hand what it’s like to have a loved one in the military. I don’t have the knowledge of the pain that results from enduring deployment and not knowing whether your loved one is safe. I don’t know exactly how it feels to hold down the fort at home caring for children when my mind is on my significant other overseas.
What I do know is that it’s hard. I have many friends that live the military lifestyle, and it’s something that I would never wish on anyone. It’s a lot of worry and anxiety (of which I have enough of already). I know that it’s sacrifice, day in and day out. It’s moving your family across the country. It’s obsessing over your phone waiting for that call to come through just to talk to your loved one for five minutes, if you even get five minutes. It’s boot camp and lingo civilians have no idea about.
And then it’s the dreaded phone call that everyone fears: their loved one died in battle. It’s those family members that we honor today. We honor the heroes that paid the ultimate sacrifice. They gave up their lives defending our freedom, our rights, our country. They died for me. They died for you. They died for us all.
They are our heroes.
I pray that today especially, we remember and honor our heroes. I pray that we will not only celebrate with BBQ’s & cold beer, but we’ll remember why we’re celebrating. I also pray for all of the families in our nation that grieve the loss of loved ones that fought for us. I pray that they may find comfort and peace in knowing they gave their all. I also pray for continued support for all military families, that they feel appreciation from fellow Americans for the loss of their loved ones in the line of duty.
Remember our heroes. Today, and every day.
I tend to forget the "party" side of it, since I live so far away from family and am just sitting at home, rather than celebrating. My personal struggle with military holidays is much different. Instead of instantly remembering and praying for our military. I first have to navigate a barrier of negativity. I struggle to remember that not all military personnel are as lousy as my ex-brother-in-law, the father of my precious niece and nephew, who was cheating on my sister with one girlfriend after another for the entirety of their 7-year marriage, who always had a female comrade-in-arms "f-buddy" during his tours overseas. They're not all like that guy who decided he suddenly wanted a divorce when his two children were just one year old, and mere months old. The guy who had already proposed to someone else, while still married, and was trying to rush a divorce process upon his unsuspecting wife so that he could get remarried before shipping out (heaven forbid he lose his marital status benefits). I know what they experience over there is difficult, but my family didn't deserve this (ok, he doesn't deserve THEM), and he declined help although he was diagnosed with "mild depression" after coming home from Kuwait. The real kicker is that part of his job in the military is to prevent the soldiers he commands from having affairs, and to separate those that seem to be pairing up. He chose the military as a career due to the dollar signs, and his goal has always been to climb the ladder of prosperity.
I have to remind myself that my grandfathers served this country, and so did my cousin. I have to focus on praying for the health and safety of the precious sons of my sweet, sweet friends, who have chosen careers in the military. I have to remind myself that most people do raise their children right and that choosing a military career does not equate those precious boys growing up into the poor example of the profession that my ex-BIL is.
I have to choose to focus on setting aside whatever I feel for that one individual, and keep in mind the sacrifices and the good that so many others have made and have done, and to lift up, pray for and support those individuals, rather than allowing one undeserving person to cloud my judgement and waste my time.