I'm always pretty silent on social media outlets when it comes to Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While I am incredibly grateful for our service men and women, I feel like none of my words would even come close to speaking to the sacrifices they have made for us. Throughout the day, I kept trying to write something - anything - but none of it sufficed. So I tried to sleep on it to write as a post-Memorial Day excerpt and instead, ended up writing this at midnight last night because I couldn't stop thinking about it. So here's my attempt at not being silent...
Both of my grandfathers (still living today) defended our country in uniform. But I know very little of that lifetime of theirs. They have spoken very rarely of those seasons in their lives. I've heard the stories of their pre-war adventures, mid-war love rendezvous with their wives (/my grandmothers) and post-war heart celebrations with their families. I know that there was absolute devastation when deploying and absolute joy when returning home. While my investigative nature wants to know the details in between, they gravely sit back and say, "I don't want to talk about that." And rightfully so. I can't imagine the fear they felt leaving their families behind and the pain they experienced physically, emotionally and mentally. They fought beside the brothers they would lose so that we could have freedom. I can't bear to extract those painful memories from them. But I'm thankful for their courage. I'm thankful for their sacrifices. I'm thankful for their strength to fight.
And there's another veteran in my life that I am especially thankful for. Of his military life, too, I know very little. But I know that he was a Navy man. I know that he loves talking about the vessels, the beauties of the sea. I know that he also claims that he got diabetes because of all the cookies he ate on duty. But I'm not sure that I have ever heard him actually talk about the war though. Politics, yes. America, yes. The best Navy ships out to sea, yes. But the hardships of war? Not so much. Once again, rightfully so. I can't imagine attempting to extract those heavy details from him. And I refuse to try.
But my favorite details lie within the sweet stories of his deployment. It was during his service that he shipped out to the Philippines. Upon his stay, he met a sweet little lady by the name of Josie. He brought her back to America and they got married inside of the walls of their first home. One year later, their son JD was born. And 25 years after that, I had the privilege and joy of marrying their handsome son. I'm thankful for you, Mr. Jim. If it wasn’t for your dedication to America's freedom, I fear that your amazingly loving and kindhearted son would not be here.
Moreover, if it weren't for our brave heroes, I fear we wouldn't have the freedoms and liberties we have as Americans today. In fact, I know we wouldn't.
So thank you, Mr. Jim, Papa Charles, Papa Roy, every man and woman who has ever served or is still serving. Thank you for fighting for our country and defending it well. Thank you for making America what it is today. Thank you for your sacrifices. Though we will never fully know of the hardships that entails, we thank you for it.
- - -
And on a completely unrelated note...
Have you entered the Take Hope | Share Hope giveaway yet!? Don't miss your opportunity to win a sweet bag filled with lots of Jitney goodies and TWO one-year subscriptions to Shattered Magazine!!