Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You Is Not Enough

Today is Memorial Day.
I guess the impending retirement for my husband is making me sentimental of all things military, or maybe I get this way every Memorial Day and don't realize it, but I am very grateful today.  I spent the day, just the girls and I as My Husband is currently out of town trying to find a new job, thinking over and over about all the people I know who have served.

I thought about my grandfather who served in World War II.  He fought under General Patton, and when his unit was over run by German forces, he was forced to play dead.  As if that wasn't enough, he had to be totally still and silent as someone ran a bayonet through him to be sure he was really gone.  He survived, though and came home with a Purple Heart for his trouble.

I thought about my own father, who served in Vietnam.  I called to ask him again what medals he received for his service, so that I could tell our girls about him.  I ask him to tell the the story one more time of how he received is own Purple Heart, the one he won't wear, though I know it well.  He was out on patrol, and a motor came in screaming in.  He started running for camp as fast as he possibly could.  It wasn't fast enough.  The munition exploded behind him and sent him flying.  He wound up with shrapnel in his legs and was awarded a Purple Heart.  He believes, though, that he isn't deserving.  It isn't that he wasn't injured, but he did nothing heroic, and he doesn't feel this his injury deserves the same award as the men and women who have lost arms, and legs.  He feels what he went through is nothing in comparison, and shouldn't be treated the same.  I respect that, though I respect the Purple Heart he was awarded as well.  He still has some of that shrapnel in his legs, and from time to time some works it way out.

I thought about my husband, who is trying his best to find a new position in this world.  I thought about how thankful I am he didn't take after my family, and end up with a Purple Heart of his own.  He has served so faithfully for the last 20 years, and I am so proud of all he has given in support of this nation.

I thought about a friend who lost her husband a few years ago, and how her life has changed.  I remembered him.  I remembered the phone call telling me that the crash we were all waiting to hear about was him.  His flight.  His helicopter.  Spending part of that night at her house, just standing there, all of us that could get there.  Not knowing what to do.  I remember mobilizing our moms group, and taking so much food every day she had to tell me to stop.  When I think of it all, my heart still breaks for her, and their children.

Other faces flash before my eyes.  People I knew of.  People My Husband knew.  People that left so much pain behind.

They gave all.

Great-full is not even enough of a word.  I doubt very seriously that there truly are words that would ever show the depth of my appreciation.  I try my best to use all the words I can to explain to my own children what today is about, not food, or beach trips.  Not grilling, or anything like that.  Today is about memories.  Today is about gratitude.  Today, is about thanks.  For without those brave men and women, we would not be the nation we are, imperfect though we may be, we are still great.  Without them, we wouldn't be at all.
So, thank you, to everyone who has ever donned the uniform and to those who were left behind when the ultimate price was paid for that freedom.  Thank you.  For all that we are, thank you.