I think about all of our soldiers and about how blessed we are to live in the United States of America. Save your politics for someone else, because these thoughts are about our country’s men and women. Our children. And about bravery, courage, risk, sacrifice, and honor.
So how do I even begin?
I begin by puting the top down on my convertible and going for a ride. The road always seems to take me right where I need to go.
Today was no exception.
I turn off the radio and drive in the quiet. My thoughts turn to my brother, Steve, the youngest of six children, who served eight years in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. I was so proud of him. I wish I had told him that more often. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 39.
My car takes me to Michigan Memorial Park/Cemetery, (MMP), on Huron River Drive, in Flat Rock. MMP has the most beautiful, sprawling, and peaceful grounds; they do justice to our loved ones who have passed. And oddly, I like it here.
Upon entering, I become tearful and overcome with emotion. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in myself, that I forget about life’s bigger picture.
I needed a smack of perspective right in the head.
And I got it . . . right in the heart.
A tribute to those who have served our country.
Because they are loved and missed.
I stop by the Christmas Box Angel Statue located within MMP to visit my son. I kiss his memory brick hello. Deep in thought, I hang my head and look down . . . to see a different kind of memory brick.
When it’s time to leave, I reluctantly get back into the car, and do what I do every time I come here; get lost trying to find my way out. Obviously, I’m driving in circles, because I keep passing the same garden signs. Finally, I start to see THE SIGNS as A SIGN.
Maybe one thing leads to the other?
On my way home I stop at a very patriotic house in New Boston where there is a yard sale. I meet an amazing lady and a kind soul who is also a school teacher, and, I suspect, a new friend.
Meet the very sweet and gracious, Susan Johnson. She’s lived in this house for 34 years and comes from a long and proud heritage of honorable war veterans.
We chat, laugh about silly things, instantly bond, and talk about Memorial Day. She is delightful and really brightens my day. I purchase a few wonderful items from her and ask her to snap a picture of me in my car.
Me, enjoying one of my life’s greatest freedoms. Peace baby.
But I can’t get this image out of my mind. Because this is what the day is all about. Sacrifice. Not only by our soldiers, but by their family’s as well. The greatest that any of us can give. In service to our Country. And in service to others.
This is what our soldiers fight for. These are their GIFTS to us; all of the simple pleasures that fill our lives and our hearts with joy. We are the reason they fight.
For us. And for our American way of life. And all the things we have and all the things we do each day without giving it a thought; because we are just so used to doing them and just so used to having them.
And that is how we should celebrate our fallen soldiers – by loving and sharing with friends and family. And by living well.
But not so well that we forget . . .
Today is Memorial Day; a day for honoring our veterans. But one day isn’t enough. Not nearly. Not by a long shot.
Did you know this?
Is this how we honor them?
Please respect them now by reading below (Facts taken from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans):
“One out of every 4 homeless men (or 25%) in the United States is a Veteran. There are anywhere from 529,000 to 840,000 Veterans who are homeless at some time during the year.
- 47% of homeless Veterans are from the Vietnam Era,
- 15% are from the Pre-Vietnam Era and the remainder are from the Post-Vietnam Era including such conflicts as Granada, Panama, Lebanon, the Gulf War, the military’s anti-drug efforts in South America and the current Iraq War.
- 67% served 3 years or more.
- 89% received honorable discharges.
- 76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems.
The Veterans Administration (VA) has resources to serve only 1 out of every 10 homeless Veterans. Community-based, Non-Profit Organizations, such as “Helping Our Veterans (HOV)” agencies have proven to be the most effective means for assisting homeless and at-risk veterans.”
Let us not forget our veterans. Let us honor them. The right way. The way our heroes deserve.
The very least we can do is to provide them with food and shelter.
They fought for us. Isn’t time we fight for them?
Change can start with just one voice. Will it be yours?