US Armed Forces AnthemAs we celebrate this holiday, let us not forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Memorial’s day is a chance to remember those who gave their lives for all we hold dear. It is a time of remembrance but it is also a time of celebration. We are free because they answered the call and served this country.
As an arm-chair historian I have read of the many sacrifices our forefathers gave to create this great country. Many lost homes, fortunes, family, friends, and many lost their lives. Freedom isn’t free. We owe so much to those who fought the battles for our freedom. Who risked everything to sustain our way of life and create a country that offers so many opportunities and gives its people so many privileges.
I never served in the military, nor protected my community or loved ones from fire or danger, but I am proud to be the daughter, daughter-in-law and mother of those who answered the call. To my father, now deceased, who served during Vietnam in the Air Force, to my father-in-law who served fourteen years in the Marine Corp with four tours to Vietnam, to my son who served ten years in the Army with two tours to Korea and two in Afghanistan, to my son who is a first-responder and another who is a volunteer fireman and first-responder, thank you for your service. To my cousins and uncles and my grandfather who served in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Merchant Marines, thank you for doing your duty for your country and your family.
To those whose loved ones did not return, God bless you and thank you for your sacrifice. To all of us who stand in honor of those who offered their lives for this country, I salute you. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (US Armed Forces AnthemJohn 15:13 New International Version)
My son has a new tattoo, a set of dog tags not his own. They are the tags belonging to his paternal grandfather, a former Marine. He served 14 years in the service, 3 tours of Vietnam, he has been a Cub Scout leader, a deacon in the church and at 71 he can out work most teenagers (okay that may not be saying much). But this tattoo, on the bicep of my 20 year old son tells me, he is one of the few who get it. He understands the sacrifices his grandfather, and other service men and women made for our country. While you may look at my son and see a tattooed thug, I see a boy who understands and cares about those who gave him the freedom to be himself.
Freedom isn’t free
I could tell of those who lost their homes and lives due to the acts of rebellion that ended with the building of the United States of America. I could tell of historical heroes who gave their lives for their country but for me it is a little closer to home.
We recently celebrated the Vietnam Homecoming with my father-in-law. He served three years in Vietnam, fourteen years in the Marine Corp. Forty years he waited, ostracized by the country he loved. It was a devastating blow to be ignored, treated as a criminal, even attacked for serving his country. I am proud of his service. It is hard to understand people who condemn him for doing his job. He didn’t chose to go to Vietnam, he went because his country sent him.
My son Jason is in the army, he’s leaving for a second tour of Afghanistan. I worry as I watch the news, I know that there is a chance that he may not come home. After his first tour he had a difficult time. He did not feel that he was a hero because he was support and worked in the back ground as a helicopter mechanic. When people thanked him for his service he felt he didn’t deserve their appreciation. I know he did his job and that meant someone else could do their job, safely. I feel that all of our service persons are heroes whether they go into battle or not, for each job is important to our freedom and safety. The country song “Some gave all, All gave some” sums up what I believe, these men and women devote their lives to doing what ever is necessary to keep our country free.
As Memorial Day draws near, I reviewed this essay and wanted to add, our freedom has a price, just because you aren’t the one who paid that price doesn’t mean it didn’t cost. Whether you are the men and women who have served in the past, or are serving now, whether you are the parent, spouse or child of someone who served, this is a chance for all of us to remember that in order to keep our country free, we all must be willing to support it.
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