As we were waiting with my son, PFC Dork, for his flight to his permanent duty station – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, the meaning of Memorial Day was really brought home for me.
His flight had been delayed due to bad weather – the same weather that has burned a trail of devastation across the country. I pray for those affected. I can not imagine. We met a sailor as this story begins, who was using his Memorial Day weekend, and part of his leave, to go home to Joplin, Missouri to help with the clean up of his hometown.
As his flight had been delayed, we had quite a while to sit. and sit. However, it is because of this I gained this new perspective..
Dork was in uniform, his Alpha’s (the green one). As we walked through the airport, people were stopping and thanking him for his service. As we sat down to eat, people came up to us and shook his hand and thanked him.
I figured I would cry when we put him on the plane, but didn’t really expect to tear up as often as I did throughout this afternoon. Everytime one of these strangers thanked my son, my tear ducts got a tiny workout.
Now, I know they were thanking my son, but I think, on some grander level, they were not just thanking him, they were thanking all of our service men and women who serve our country.
This didn’t really hit me until I was telling a friend about it the next day. He is an older man who served through many wars, including Vietnam. He said that he is glad that the soldiers today get the welcome home and the appreciation they so deserve. A total turn around from the way the military who returned with him were treated. For that, our country should be ashamed of themselves.
As I write, I remember hearing an interview with Tim McGraw – and he voiced something that I have said for many years, ever since my boyfriend left for Desert Storm (the war so many thought we were fighting over oil) – you don’t have to support the cause – but you do have to support our troops.
As Memorial Day is here again, remember that it isn’t about bbq’s on the lake or how much beer we drink. It isn’t about the great deal we can get on a car or that new sofa. It is to honor those who have fought for our freedom and way of life. Who have fought even for the protection of the innocents of other countries, whether we agree with this or not, we should always support them.
If you ever get a chance to see the Vietnam Memorial – we had the opportunity to see the moving wall when we were in Oregon – you should make the trip to see it. It is profound.
Remember the fallen. They made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their lives for us.
A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. That is honor.
and for this, we should all be grateful.