Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial day is tomorrow.

For many, it's just a holiday; an extra day off from work. Sadly, when I was younger (childhood, teens) I never thought about Memorial day much. It just was.

I joined the Army Reserve when I was twenty. I was so young. Naive. Boot camp was an experience I'll never forget. I can still hear the cadences in my head, feel the heat of the Kevlar helmet, the heaviness of the ruck-sack. I joined for a variety of reasons, because I was told I'd never make it (challenges; I just can't back down sometimes), and I needed to find a direction.

Oh, I got direction.

The one thing I was told before I signed, by my mother no less, in joining the military that I was a soldier first; and everything else second. I didn't understand that for the first 3 weeks. It was when I was low-crawling with live rounds being shot over my head that I realized-truly- this was for real.

What was I to do? Could I really be a soldier? Did I have it in me?

In school I studied the wars, from the American Revolution, all the way to Vietman (and now there have been more). While I finished my basic training I understood that America is what it is because of the sacrifices made. Lives; have been lost (and still are being lost) to keep our way of life for some who are grateful and others who are not.

There are many differences of opinion; about soldiers, war, etc. I am not writing about politics-that is something different entirely-I am writing about people who volunteered and those that were drafted that went forward and did what had to be done. Some didn't have a choice, others did.

I had a choice and I accepted it. I knew I could and would be sent forth for my country. I may not always agree with everything, but I joined knowing that I was a soldier; by the time I finished basic training; I understood that. Granted; I am not nor ever will be the best soldier; but I did what I promised to do-I served.

I've been out of the military now for about ten years. I am happily married with children. Still; I take a moment every Veteran's day and Memorial day to remember those in the Military that have served and are serving for us. I pray for all those that are living and dead that have seen the gates of hell -so we could have our opportunities and options.

Who do you know; friend or family that has been in the Military?


Debra Glass said...

Thanks for posting your blog! My best friend joined the military right out of high school and my grandfather is a WWII vet. Often, we think of Memorial Day as a day for picnics and boating, the summer kick off holiday. Thanks for reminding us to take a moment to remember the brave men and women who serve our country.

Playground Monitor said...

I went to high school and college during the Vietnam era and knew a lot of guys who served. Most came home; one didn't and is still listed as MIA.

Whether you agree with a war or not, the soldiers should be supported. They're just doing their job, and a serious job at that.

Thanks for the reminder.


Angel said...

I have uncles on my mother's side that have served in every branch of the military but Marines. Luckily, we've never lost one, but visiting family graves on the military base, seeing acres of white crosses, is an image I always associate with soldiers. Their sacrifices are great. Thanks for the reminder.

I didn't know you'd been in the military. Learn something new everyday.... :)


Carla Swafford said...

Good blog, Mary.

My son-in-law sign up with the Army Reserve after serving a term in the Army.

My dad has his dad's purple heart from WWI. And I've had several uncles who served too.

JoAnn said...

My dad was a WWII veteran, and a feicely patriotic man. He called me every Memorial Day and Veterans Day to make sure I had my flag out. Two of his greatest joys in the last years of his life were giving presentations to fourth graders on what it was like to be a soldier in WWII (while wearing his WWII uniform, no less!) and reuiniting with his Army buddies. I loved him dearly and miss him so much.

JoAnn said...

Ahem, that would be *fiercely.*

JoAnn said...

Oh, and one more thing -- thank you, Mary, for serving.

MaryF said...

Y'all thank you. Your comments touched my heart and I appreciate your sharing your memories of others.

I think those left behind; whether mother, brother, sister, daughter, aunt or friend are also unrecognized in how very important you all are.

Thank you.

Christy Reece said...

Mary, wonderful blog! I am humbled and in awe of those who serve or have served. Ordinary people performing extraordinary deeds. True heroes in every sense.

My dad was a POW in the Korean War. Sadly he died years before I could talk with him about his experience. My brother-in-law was a Green Beret in Vietnam. He still has nightmares.

Mary, thank you so much for your service to our country and thanks for a wonderful reminder of how truly great our servicemen and women are. We are so very fortunate and blessed.