This is a rare non-writing related post, and nothing overly complicated or earth shattering. Just me wanting to share some thoughts on a day/weekend that means a lot to my family and me. I'm also going to share a few details about my personal life, which I don't often do. Hope you enjoy...
|Credit: Lynn Kelley, WANA Commons|
My wife's grandfather is still living. He fought in every major theater in Europe, WWII. He was on the beach at D-Day, he fought at the Bulge, and missed the birth of his first child as a result (he didn't see our 'Aunt Sandra' for the first time until she was over 2 years old--she was afraid of him, incidentally).
HE is a national treasure, because there just aren't many of his kind left.
And he's just 1 of numerous relatives we both have who have fought in wars and served over the years. My grandfather was in the Navy in WWII, as was her other grandfather. I have uncles who fought in Korea, a father-in-law who served during Vietnam, etc.
There is a certain amount of reverence held for those people, and justifiably so.
My wife is an officer in the United States Air Force. She signed up nearly 10 years ago as part of a scholarship program. It's a life neither of us imagined for ourselves when were 18, I can tell you that. It definitely comes with compromises.
We get to live in a variety of places. We don't have to worry about her having a job when we relocate, or me having health insurance. But we've also had leave behind our families, and too many dear friends.
So when we went out for lunch yesterday and she received a free meal because of her current service, I dare say she felt no less pride and gratitude for the offering than any of those great people I mentioned above feel when someone would tell them 'thank you'.
It's special, because 99.9% of the time she's like everyone else: just doing her job. And she expects all the recognition most people get for doing their job, which is to say not much. I can count on one hand the number of times I've had a boss say, "Hey, thanks for doing what we pay you to do."
They are willing, and required, to surrender their safety and comfort if called--no questions asked. It's implied, and gratitude is not necessary, but that doesn't mean it's not appreciated.
For active duty military, the holiday is special for the same reasons that most of us think it's special. It's a way to honor those who've gone before. Most of our military friends have a family legacy of serving. They are carrying the mantle of grandfathers and mothers who also served.
But the holiday also gives a rare moment of recognition to what THEY do, and are willing to do, on a daily basis. That makes them feel special and appreciated at their very core--even with the simplest thank you ... or maybe even a free cookie.
So, from the spouse of an active duty serviceperson to all of those who take the time and effort to honor someone who has served, or is currently serving in the military this weekend: Thank YOU. Know it means so much to all of them.