Unsung Heroes

The day began with a parade to honor those who are often times forgotten.  The children waved their banners high and when the weathered men walked by, in heavy, starched suits standing proud in the 80 degree sun... we applauded.  I don't know what it must've been like to watch a friend fall on the beach at Normandy or have a brother become a POW. I cannot imagine the heartache of serving your country, taking in the horrors of war, and returning home to criticism.  I don't know what nightmares plague our soldiers as they transition from being in active service to being a civilian again. I have no clue what it is like to have my husband or wife serve actively while I pray for them to safely return home, and in the meantime keep everything rolling smoothly in their absence. I haven't had to miss a child's birthday or Christmas, a wedding anniversary, or the passing of a parent because I am stationed overseas. I cannot imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes.

 I want to hear the stories of these valiant heroes and yet, I don't know if I am strong enough to handle the reality they may share with me.

  I thank God for the men and women who so bravely served, I thank Him for all of those who are serving now to keep us safe, and for those who have died so I can freely enjoy the liberties that come with living in the United States of America.

We teach our children about Memorial Day because we want them to know that freedom is not free.  It comes at a great price and should not be taken for granted.  I want them to know why they can wave their flags in peace at a parade, undisturbed. I want them to know why we thank a man in uniform while we are out at Walmart or buy a soldier in front of us his meal at the restaurant.

For now, my children do not know the sound of  wailing sirens, piercing gunfire, or rumbling tanks and for that, I am so very grateful.

 I want my children to appreciate the man sitting silently in the corner of the nursing home, his legs rendered useless, confined to a wheelchair.  I want them to listen as he tells his story of being a pilot during the war and admire the brave soul that is now a dim flicker inside of lonely man, living his last days out in a place where no one knows his story.  A man who cannot remember what he had for breakfast but he remembers the names of those he served with and those who gave their lives for our freedom.

As a Mom I awoke this morning to the sound of birds chirping and I had the security of knowing my babies were tucked safely in their beds.  I knew we would all awake and enjoy a day with Daddy, celebrating family and freedom.  It is easy to take it for granted when the tanks are not outside your window and the mortar shells are not raining down on your city.  

I had a little taste of what it must be like to have your safety stripped from you.  We recently had a murderer loose near our home and there was a huge police force looking for this person.  While the manhunt was underway we had to take precautions.  We did not play outside.  We kept the doors locked at all times and activities were cancelled that would normally take place if such a threat was not afoot.  Everywhere we went there were men in uniform with guns at their side.  We were stopped at road blocks and asked questions.  Helicopters flew over our property and I held my children a little bit closer. I was thankful for the men and women who were working day and night to keep us safe and it helped me to sleep easier knowing that the good guys were out there.  My children had never seen anything like it before but it was a good life lesson that there are bad guys out there. It was a lesson in realizing that life is not guaranteed to be safe and it can all change in a moment.  It was a reminder that every day, there are people putting their lives on the line to protect us.  Their service often goes unnoticed because we don't think about it... we live in a quiet town that is relatively safe. The protection of our military and police  is a constant, a given, that somewhere out there today there is someone safeguarding our city, our state, our country... whether we know them by name or not.  Whether we agree with everything our country stands for or not.  They still serve and protect, no matter what people believe or say or do. These men and women defend everyone's freedoms, even the freedoms of those who protest them.  They are our unsung heroes and today I just want to say "thank you for your sacrifice".