Today, I offer a different post – a post to say thank you. It’s Memorial Day weekend and my mother comes from a military family. Her dad, my grandfather, was career military. He retired after 28 years of service in 1968 as a Major. My uncles served in the Navy and Air Force.
My grandfather began his career in the army, then requested and received honorable discharge so he could reenlist into the Air force and fly. He became a pilot and flew in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. While stationed in Hawaii, he was a hurricane hunter – flying into the eye of hurricanes to obtain storm data for the military – an assignment for only very skilled pilots.
One of my favorite stories involves my grandmother, now 96. My grandfather wanted to take her flying but because they had children, military policy prohibited them from both flying on the same plane (even commercial flights). So late one night, my grandmother disguised herself as a serviceman so he could take her flying.
It goes without saying this life involves sacrifice. When my grandfather came home after a tour of duty, when he retired, whatever ghosts and demons he had came with him. This affected every relationship he had.
When I listened to his stories – and there is a great one about a softball game while riding donkeys – I also remember comments from my mom, aunt and uncles about their childhoods.
Memories of often substandard, inadequate housing. How they learned not to get attached to anyone or anything because they moved on average, every 18 months. Memories of living in foreign countries with different languages and cultures where they were hated. Sharing how it’s a struggle to form friendships because growing up friends meant painful separation when they left.
So today, I want to say thank you. Thank you to the men and women who serve at great personal sacrifice. Thank you for our freedom. Thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for being willing to give your life so we can enjoy our own. Thank you that you believe in and serve our country and the foundational truths America was founded on – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I also want to thank the families, the children – those often forgotten as we salute our heroes and soldiers. You also sacrifice. Your families, marriages, childhoods are all affected. Thank you for holding it together while your loved one is deployed far away. Thank you for being there when they come back and attempting to regroup and love someone you don’t even recognize. Thank you for all you endure – the hardships, stress and sometimes the ultimate loss.
Find a veteran today and thank them for their service.