Today is Memorial Day, which nowadays means beaches, parks, picnics, and barbeques. To be honest, that is what I think of when Memorial Day rolls around. That and, "How can I get a killer tan without burning?" (Deep thoughts, I know. I aim to impress.) What I often don't think about are the families of those who have died in the military. I don't think of the kids who have lost a parent or the wife (or husband) who has lost a spouse. I don't think of the last thought of a man or woman who gave their life serving our country.
Regardless of your stance on the American military, and regardless of your political persuasion, these are people who gave their life, sacrificing whatever future they might have had to fight for what they thought was right. These are fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, neighbors, and friends. These are people who deserve to be remembered.
Maybe I'm a little more aware this year because I am now a parent and the thought of my daughter growing up without a dad makes my stomach lurch. Perhaps I'm a little nostalgic because I live in a military town and I see families who are waiting to get their daddies back...and families who never will. Certainly I am more sappy now as a parent over all things, and wanting to root for and support our military families, as well as remember those who have lost their lives is no exception.
I think, since becoming a parent, I have branched out from being caught up in "me" to noticing others more. I don't want to say that I was an egomaniac before becoming a mom, because I don't think I was. I just wasn't as aware. Now that I am, its hard not to want to do something.
I met a woman the other day who has two kids under the age of three. Her husband is in the United States Air Force and is going to be gone for the next year. She is moving her kids across country by herself, to head to the base he will be stationed at when he returns. She is missing her husband, feeling overwhelmed at the thought of acting as single parent for the next year, and trying to comfort two little ones who desperately want piggy back rides from daddy. Yet she is thankful that, so far, he is safe and she will get to see him again. "Some families" she says, "aren't that lucky."
So today, whether you know somebody who has lost their life in the military or not, take a minute to think about those who have sacrificed. Send up a prayer for their families. And then, go celebrate your family with a barbeque or ball game. And give them the best of you today.