Memorial Day…a day for a BBQ, spending time in the pool, or an extra day off work?
For the Military community, Memorial Day is a little different.
We do have BBQs, and we do spend time in the pool and have an extra day off work, but we also remember those who have lost their lives, in a very personal way.
Each of us knows a Gold Star family. I know many of them personally. Friends who became widows during our past deployments, friends who have received that knock on the door, friends who will never be the same.
They are who I think about on this day.
- I think about how we all said goodbye to our husbands together, yet some did not return.
- I think about my husband telling a fellow soldier what it was like to be a Dad, only to have that soldier lose his life the very next day. His wife was pregnant with their first baby.
- I think about reading that email about the soldier who died and realizing I knew that last name. The name belonged to a friend of mine.
- I think about hearing my husband talk about his buddy. How they had a lot in common. How he was a family guy too. And then receiving a phone call while I was in Vienna of all places, that he had also been killed in action.
- I think about the fence outside the elementary school in Germany with the photos of those who we had lost during that long 15-month deployment.
- I think about the little children that will never know their own fathers because they died before they were old enough to be able to remember them.
- I think about the older children that still feel the loss so greatly years later.
- I think about the Moms sending their children off to war only to get the knock on the door that they were not coming home.
- I think about the end of a Memorial service when they call for the soldier and he does not answer. I think about how heartbreaking that really is.
- I think about the table that sits empty at every Military Ball.
This is what Memorial Day means to the military community. We can’t help it. As a Military spouse, I have experienced all of this, and so have so many others.
Memorial Day is real life, not just something that happened 50 years ago. Memorial Day hits us hard, in so many different ways. Memorial Day is a time to reflect and remember, and mourn for those who have paid the ultimate price.
So when you are enjoying your day off, enjoying a BBQ, spending time with your family and friends, please remember the Gold Star families who are missing someone.
Remember what they have been through and what they have given up.
Say a prayer and remember that freedom is just not free. Freedom always comes with a cost.