I guess it sounds strange to me, the phrase “Happy Memorial Day”. The word memorial means to remember or celebrate something or someone and most often when they have died. I guess thinking of being happy about the brave men and women who chose or were drafted into a military life and fought for our freedom in war and didn’t return home just doesn’t make sense to me. I am, however, deeply grateful for them and for their bravery. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a loved one in war. I know what it is like to have a loved one at war. The worry and yearning for their safe return is a feeling I cannot describe. My husband is in the military, the Marine Corps to be exact. Months after we met, and days after he proposed, he left for training to soon deploy to Afghanistan. I had never experienced something like this before. I was happy and petrified all at the same time. I was celebrating our engagement but feeling lost in feelings of fear and worry. I guess I should have had some sort of clue as to what deployment would be like as I worked for the Marine Corps for years on the very base that my husband and I had met. But still, no one can be prepared for something like that. I prayed everyday for his safe return and for us to have the opportunity to start our life together as husband and wife. I prayed that he would come back unchanged and the same person I fell in love with. It was ‘old hat’ for him, as he had deployed and been to war before. It was all new to me. It as during that time that I really truly understood what sacrifices are made for us by our military and their families. Can you imagine not seeing your home or family for seven months to a year or even longer? Can you imagine being in a foreign country and wondering whether or not the very people you are trying to help will turn on you? Can you imagine having to write a letter to your loved ones in case you didn’t return home to them? I have no idea what my husband must have felt and what other men and women fighting for our country must feel, but I do know that I am forever grateful and proud of them. I, personally, could never do what they do and have done for us. They are much braver than I am.
So, on this Memorial Day, I won’t wish it a happy one for you. I will wish that you all think about what it really truly means. I wish that you feel grateful as I do for the freedom that we have and for the brave men and women that sacrifice their lives and time with their families to give us that freedom. I hope that you know what it means to be an American. I hope you know what our flag symbolizes and the values our great country was founded on. We need to remember. Memorial Day is about remembering, appreciating, valuing, and feeling proud.
God bless you all!
Pictured below are some images I recently captured during a few events at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, it is one of the most beautiful museums rich in Marine Corps and American history. It is a great place to wander around and absorb the traditions and history of our nation’s great Marine Corps. The volunteers are amazing and many are former military. While there, check out the Tun Tavern or Devil Dog Diner for a bite to eat and even check out the Museum Store. http://www.usmcmuseum.com