Monday, May 31, 2010
I was all set to write about something else today. But when I woke up, the importance of this day hit me. All too often, I'm focused on other things on Memorial Day, like the fact that Matt will be off work, what we'll do, whether we'll see our families, etc. Not today.
Almost as soon as I opened my eyes, I remembered what this day should be about, to remember those who have died in the service of our nation.
Now, I'm not an advocate of war, not at all. And there is no way that I would ever be in the military, and it's not because of my age, either. We all know I'm too old and feeble and they'd never take me. But I've always been in awe of people who are willing to give up their families, their lives, their everything in order to serve our country. Because I'm far too selfish to do it, even though it's embarrassing for me to admit that.
Maybe it's because my family doesn't have a long history of military service, or any at all, as far as I know. My dad was disqualified from fighting in Vietnam (thank God) because he had flat feet and was, for all practical purposes, deaf in one ear. I guess those qualities wouldn't be too helpful on the battlefield. And I'm not sure about my grandfathers (which is something I really need to ask my mom about). I know we have some other ancestors who fought in wars way back when, of course.
My paternal grandfather was too busy pickling his insides with alcohol, but my maternal grandfather would definitely have fought if asked, I believe. In fact, when I was growing up, he was adamant about not buying anything that wasn't made in the USA. I inwardly rolled my eyes at his stubbornness back then, but now I completely understand. As he got older, it became harder and harder to find things made in our country, but he definitely still tried. I admire his loyalty.
But the people who have given up their lives for this country...I just can't fathom the unselfishness it would require to even be willing to take that risk. So to those of you whose family members sacrificed everything to protect us, I thank you. My gratitude seems paltry and insufficient, but it's heartfelt. God bless you.