Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I have been thinking a lot about Memorial Day this week. I know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and was first observed after the Civil War ended. On that day people would decorate the graves of those fallen in war with wild flowers and pay a visit of respect to the gravesides. On this day now we honor all those of our countrymen (and women) who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy in all the wars and battles fought to date in and for country.

The thought that have been going through my mind this week is that I am honoring not only those who have died for our country but those who have sacrificed and lived for our country. Many, many people have been touched by and sacrificed much in the name of being a patriot and in defending freedom.

When a person joins or is enlisted in the military they take an oath to defend our country even to the sacrificing of their lives if necessary. They must be obedient after that to whatever their commander asks them to do. I can imagine that has engendered many of conflict in the hearts of soldiers everywhere, when the things asked of them were extremely difficult or went against everything they had ever believed to be right and true. The wounds of war brought home from the battlefields left scars on many, that left them changed forever. They did not die but what they did was huge and honorable and good for us all. So I am honoring them as well.

And what of those who have sent their loved ones off to war with hopeful hearts and a constant prayer only to hear they were lost in battle? Those who have lost sons and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and siblings and even grandchildren? I am honoring them also. And what of those numberless millions who have gotten caught in the cross fires of all these insane wars? The innocent civilians, the women, children and the elderly and infirmed that fell without a cause, who just found themselves in harm's way? I am honoring them too.

And what of those who lost their spouses and families because of the ravaged relationships by being separated too long while serving our country? Husbands that lost their families and wives that lost husbands because of the distance between them.

My parents got married on September 28th 1941~less than three months before Pearl Harbor. Their first anniversary together was their sixth. Not once during that time did they get a chance to see each other or talk on the phone, or have a private letter between them that was not censored by a third party. Thank God they survived that and went on to have a wonderful life together. But I am honoring them today for their sacrifices, as well as, the countless thousands like them.

And lastly I am honoring our children, Robert and Laura for the 11 years they have served our country. Yes, it is true, they did join the Navy and have seen some of the world, but it is so much more than that. Their service has been a sacrifice in many ways. They have been separated a lot while Robert has traveled to various places and been gone for extended periods of time. He went many many months during his deployment without seeing his little boys or his wife, to keep his commitments to the rest of us. The boys missed their Daddy and did not understand. Laura has had to do many things that the rest of us, with husbands working near home, have never had to face.

She has been very courageous and brave through things like fleeing Hurricane Katrina alone with two little boys, making a lot of decisions on her own, and living like a single parent a lot of the time. Imagine what it was like for Robert to be deployed while his family dealt with the ravages of Katrina on their entire community. Thousands of others are doing and have done the same and I am honoring all of them today.

And I am even honoring other parents and grandparents like Jim and me who have sacrificed years of being without our kids and grandchildren, willingly, to help in this cause we call freedom. Our sacrifices are little by comparison to the losses of countless others, but they count too. Wars, contentions and rumors of wars have and do affect us all in some way.

All I am saying is that it is a day to be thankful for all the sacrifices made by every person for the freedoms we do enjoy, and for the most part, take for granted. Today I am aware and grateful in a more conscious way than I usually am. And I hope you are too!


Marie said...

Great post Bonnie. We must never take these special people who fight for and who protect our freedoms. They truly deserve our honor and our prayers and our thanks!

laura.elizabeth said...

Thanks Mom. I agree freedom is not free and though those that work and sacrifice and fight to keep us free don't ask for praise- our acknowledgment and gratitude is always appreciated. I can hardly imagine how differently I would feel about war and freedom and foreign policy and the military if I didn't live the affects of it everyday. It has been eleven year now- eleven years last March. I am grateful for the experiences we have had thus far- the good and the bad. I am thankful for Robert's safety and pray that it continues in the crazy days ahead.

Bonnie said...

We also pray for his safety and well-being all the time. I know he is your favorite of all the military guys you have known and if they all had his good character and wisdom we would have a world where peace abides!

CA Poppy said...

Thankyou Bonnie!