This Sunday is Memorial Day...a day when everyone wears red, white, and blue an puts little American flags in their wreaths and hanging baskets. A day where we honor all military men and women who have died serving in the American armed forces during wars and military conflicts.
I was 10 years old and I was in 4th grade and my teacher had us write letters to soldiers who were serving overseas and on American soil. I remember as a small child feeling a heaviness in my heart....a wanting to "help" or "thank" these men and women and their families. Ever since then I have always felt like a simple "thank you" was never enough.
Since I have "grown up" and I am looking through the eyes of a women, mother, and spouse my gratitude and thanks for our service men and women has grown. I could be wrong, but I feel like there is a large disconnect from "civilians" and those who are serving or whose family is serving in any branch of armed forces. I feel like many Americans...even myself at times forget exactly what it takes to keep our America safe and functioning they way that it does. I feel like to many people are fighting over the number and the politics and the war itself...and not thanking and remembering enough.
My Grandfathers served in World War II and Korea, my Dad served in Vietnam, one of my Uncles served in the Air Force for a whole career, some members of our Georgia family are retired Navy and active national guard, a cousin waiting to go on his first deployment with the Navy. Not to mention countless friends who have joined or are married to service men or women. There is a Dad who returned home to his wife and two children just a few months ago from deployment.
These are just the handful of people that we are connected to. These men and women are husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. And each person that I have encountered has always said "I love serving my country".
Each time I hear of a homeless veteran or a returned service man or women who cant get the care they need, my heart breaks. You hear of men and women who don't have family and don't get letters and welcome homes. To think of the sacrifice that they make and we simply forget.
I came across a wonderful website when I was in high school called http://www.anysoldier.com It is a list of men and women who are currently deployed. They list their wants and needs for care packages. I sent a package once to an African American women, her only request was hair care items made specifically for her hair. Another time I had my Sunday school class of 4th grade girls write letters and we sent them...and their letters were cherished.
If you cant send a package, send a letter of thanks, if you cant do either just remember and offer a prayer. Raise awareness to your friends and family, reminding them that Memorial Day isn't just about hot dogs and hamburgers and an extra day off work. Remind them of the reason that they can vote, drive their cars, and not worry about their country's safety.
Parson has a Navy shirt that he got as a gift from his Georigia Papa who is retired Navy. All the time people ask if Aaron is in the Navy. I simply reply no, but there are lots of men and women who are. Remember that you are connected to service men and women to, not because of relation, but because they are serving our country and protecting our family and for that we all owe them a thanks.
Next time, every time you see a service man or women or their family, reach out shake their hand, honor them, and thank them. Try and mend the disconnect that is happening in our society.
From our family to yours have a happy and safe Memorial Day.