Monday, May 31, 2010

They Had a Mom

I have never been un-patriotic. Seeing our nation's flag, especially after 9/11, has always elicited pride and gratefulness. I admit, however, that I don't regularly pause to think about the blessedness of being a citizen of this country. It is hard for me to comprehend that many of the the rights/freedoms I thoughtlessly enjoy today were not always so. 

It is far too easy in this day and age to take for granted that our freedoms have been purchased and defended. The cost of such was the lives of dedicated, courageous men and women.

I confess that I did not always take that as personally as I now do. I have never had a close friend or immediate relative serve in the armed services. I grew up in Columbus, Georgia, adjacent to Ft. Benning (Home of the Infantry). I have known many who served from a distance. But, honestly, for me, it took becoming a a Mom to start to get it. 

A couple of years ago I was in the security checkpoint line at the Atlanta airport behind a family sending their son off to his deployment. The mother and father were dressed to the nines. I watched their strength and dignity attempt to mask the obvious fear, concern and pride they had regarding their son. Even dressed in fatigues, he looked so young. I attempted to put myself in their position emotionally. What would it be like if 12-13 years from now I was the mother sending my child off to fight, serve, defend? Just the thought was almost more than I could bear emotionally. I managed to catch the mother's eyes and squeaked out, "Thank you."

My husband has been on call since Friday, so we didn't really make any celebratory plans to mark Memorial Day. We dressed in red, white and blue this morning--but something about just going to the pool dressed festively didn't seem to be enough. As much as I love barbeque and ice cream in the sunshine, it is not the point.

Early this afternoon I decided to take the children to an exhibit downtown of uniforms, military vehicles and such. In the back corner there was a small wall bearing the names of local men and women who have died in service since WWI. As I pointed out the names to my children all I could say was, "Every one of them had a family who misses them very much."

That's what I said, but in my mind I was thinking: Every one of these names had a Mom. They were all loved by someone. Most had siblings and best friends, many had spouses and children, but they ALL had a Mom. 

I imagine that it would be extremely difficult for me to send my child into enemy territory to fight for people like me who are seemingly oblivious to the importance of their duty and the tremendous sacrifice involved. I have amazing respect for the people who choose to do so and the family left behind. They clearly don't do it for the accolades. 

I am also reminded of the ultimate sacrifice my Father in Heaven made in sending His only Son--again for a people who largely took for granted the extent of his sacrifice and the eternal freedom it purchased.  

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." NAS - John 15:13

May we all pause today to be grateful.


masters said...

well Said J. Amen and Amen!

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

interesting. I grew up almost the exact opposite. My father was a marine and in Vietnam. And Marines are very much Marines in all senses of the word. And they are always Marines....tough and strong...these day have always been very significant days. And when I see pictures from his days of service, I see only a boy. And many times I have wondered how my grandmother did it. But I am so proud.

Once I had a student of mine question why we had to stand for the dad risked his life for her- and that was that. She stood from then on and never questioned it.

Hayley said...

I just came across your blog earlier and I began to read the story of you and your husband. Thank you so much for sharing! Little did you know when you posted it, that it would reach out to some stranger girl, that is in the middle of a break up and feels like God has been speaking the same to her(which is me).
I feel like God allowed me to read this for confirmation.. Isn't He amazing?? He has been bringing me little things to my attention lately, just to give me hope and your blog is one of those little "things!" :-)

Hayley said...

Oops! Just realized I should have posted this under the stories! :-)

Lori said...

I think about the moms every day. I live/work in the Army environment and it is overwhelming some days to see these young men and women who have volunteered for this service. Truly humbling.

Cate Tuten said...

Hello, this is the first time I have read your blog. Your friend, Lauren Snellings, mother sent me your link. I so loved this post. Praise God my three sons grew up without ever having to go to war, but I have one grandson and another on the way. All of us as mother's or grandmother's can so relate to what you wrote. Thank you! I would like to invite you to visit my new blog I wrote a Memorial Day tribute to my Uncle Boyce, who did give his life for his country, 65 years ago. He was only 19. Hope you'll visit and I'll be back to visit you! Blessings, Cate