Memorial day is not a holiday I celebrate. Celebrate is the wrong word. It’s a day when I reflect.
I’m American, but I was never in the military. Both of my grandfather’s were Navy; several uncles and a few aunts were Air Force; a few cousins were Army and a couple more cousins and my ex-husband were Marines. Lots of my friends have been military brats. And my youngest is considering the military as a possible career when he finishes high school.
Even without these links, the military men and women who’ve sacrificed so much still would have touched my life.
I’ve never experienced first hand the closeness that develops between military buddies. Buddies is the wrong word though. They are brothers. I’ve never experienced the pain of losing someone that close to me, whether watching it or not. I’ve never had to deal with the guilt of being the one who came back or the ghosts that ride along.
I’ve been a Marine wife during war deployments; a mom of young children who couldn’t understand where dad was or why. I’ve had the scared, sleepless nights hoping he’s ok and wondering when or if I’d hear from him again. But I never had to deal with the reality of him giving all for this country and the people in it.
I’ve never been the one wondering if the next step I take will be the last…almost every second for 8 months or longer. I’ve never experienced waking up missing a part of myself or facing the challenge of relearning how to do things. I’ve can’t fathom, can’t imagine, the depths of grief, anger, sadness, depression…accomplishment and victory that people who’ve faced this must feel.
Memorial day is a day of reflection for me. A day to really think about how fortunate I am. A day to consider all the military that we take for granted while they suffer the losses.
I remember and I thank you.