While my husband was in the Air Force, he was deployed. Twice, actually. One particularly memorable story he told me was from a deployment while he was gone over Christmastime. That Christmas, he was responsible for overseeing the safe departure of the caskets of several of his fellow airmen. I don’t remember the number of casualties he sent home, but I will never forget the haunted look in his eyes as he told me the story. On days like today, I can still find that look in his eyes as he remembers.
I never deployed while I was in the Navy. I was lucky, in a way. I wanted to deploy, because I was convinced that I hadn’t really experienced Navy life until I had deployed, but I also knew what that meant to my family. And I didn’t want to put them through that. I never did get the opportunity, though. My job wasn’t one that deployed often. That didn’t, however, stop me from losing friends in the line of duty.
There is nothing quite like being told that someone you served with lost their life.
I can only imagine what kind of grief I would feel if someone knocked on my door to tell me that I had just lost a family member who had died while serving. My heart breaks for those who have had that visit.
“Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of every soldier, sailor, airman, marine and coast guardsman who died protecting it.” – anonymous.
Military funerals are somber, but beautiful affairs, and both my husband and I have been to more than we would care to. It’s something I hope my son will never have to attend. Something I can only hope that I will never have to attend for anyone in my family. I don’t know if my son will follow our footsteps and decide to be in one of the branches of the armed services. I hope he does, but I also fear he will. And I don’t know how I will feel when he makes that decision.
But today, if you’re reading this, please don’t thank me. You can thank me on Veteran’s Day. You can thank those still serving on Armed Services Day. Today, please remember the fallen. Those who gave everything so that we are safe and free.
Celebrate by enjoying that freedom, have a BBQ, get together with your families, whatever it is that you do for Memorial Day. It is a somber holiday, true, but those people sacrificed their freedom, their time, and their lives so we can continue living in the safety and security that peace brings. Honor them by celebrating and remembering them. Have a moment of silence for them, and honor their sacrifice by living a good, fulfilling life.
I hope everyone has a peaceful, and blessed Memorial Day.
To those who have fallen, your watch has ended. Rest peacefully, you stand relieved.
– Monster Mama