The older I get the more sentimental I am on Memorial Day.
I heard the word "sacrifice" a lot growing up when referring to people who served in our armed forces. I lived in the small army town of Anniston, Alabama, so I saw soldiers regularly. But, as a young girl, I viewed them no differently than I did a sales clerk or a postal worker. That was their job as far as I was concerned and all the talk of "sacrifice" was just as routine as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance each morning at school.
But, as I have gotten older, I have seen glimpses of the "sacrifices" so many spoke of.
I think it is because I am more aware of what shapes a person.
The storms of life have a way of coming in and forcing us to bend and sway in order to cope with what we are facing. But, when the storm is over, we are not the same as before. We are forever changed. For better or worse.
Maybe that is why I am more sentimental.
Because I see the storms I have faced, some great and some small. And they undoubtedly shaped who I am today.
But, when I compare my storms to what many soldiers have faced, I am left speechless and humbled.
I can't imagine sacrificing the safety and comfort of home and family, physical health, emotional health, sleep, missing my child's birth, etc.
I cringe to think of experiencing the brutality of war, having to take a life, seeing a life be taken, losing a brother/sister in battle, fear of losing my own life, the smells of battle, the sounds of battle, etc.
Ask yourself: "How can anyone face those things and walk away the same?!?"
And what blows my mind even more is that someone would purposefully sign up to face those storms and allow themselves to be shaped by them...for me. For you. For those who are appreciative. For those who aren't appreciative. For those who support them. For those who oppose them. For each and every inch of America.
They sacrificed it all. And some gave their very life to defend the freedoms I take so easily for granted.
So, though my words are insufficient, may I humbly say, "Thank you."
To all who have served. I will never fully comprehend all you lost and gave up on my behalf. Please know that your service was and is admirable and heroic.
Maybe, in some small way, I get it now. I see the depth behind the term "sacrifice."
And, as I raise my two boys up, I pray I can instill in them the concept of just how great a sacrifice has been given. And, one day, when they are older, they will realize the depth of that word, as I have. And may it forever shape who they are.
Let us never forget the cost of freedom.
Happy Memorial Day