Memorial Day, 2009….Memorial…Memories…each word or grouping of words brings its own mind images and the visions in my mind are different than the ones you pictured when those same words were first introduced. I see my older brothers as they once were, teenagers in the US Navy uniforms of WW2 issue while my 6-year-old brother and I at age 3 stood by their sides for parting pictures, I unaware it could be the last. In later years Memorial Day observances in our family became visits to the graves of grandparents and other family members who had gone on but thankfully not those brothers because of that war. However, this country’s observance of Memorial Day is bigger than just my family or yours.
Yesterday I had some errands to run and arriving at our local post office I had to stand at the end of an amazingly long line for nine-thirty in the morning. Not one to waste time I decided to see if I could make it pleasant so spoke to the woman ahead and said, “ I guess we need a lesson in patience.”
She mentioned she couldn’t understand why they would have just one customer representative working the windows but said, “At least I am not in a hurry.”
Seeing she was gaining on me in age I added, “And we don’t have toddlers in tow to keep entertained!”
She found agreement in that, then noting the line had moved, reached over to grab a large box from a desk unit to put on the shelf closer to us explained, “This is Jell-O® for my son who is Afghanistan. He has a bad tooth and eats this. He is supposed to be home sometime in July.”
I said, “Please tell him thank you for his service.” I went on to tell her of some of my family memories of WW2 and how I miss the patriotism that was so evident even to a child during those years. I explained how after growing up during those years then having a son born in an AF base hospital brought the prayer to my heart that he would grow up never having to go to fight in a war.
She told me that her husband had served two tours in Vietnam and I wondered what his thoughts must be about his son’s being in Afghanistan. I could relate from the point of view of being a mom but not from that of a dad who had memories of having been in an unpopular war whose son was now in a similar situation.
I didn’t have to ask about her thoughts about their son’s service. In word and deed she came across as it was expected of him as a citizen of the United States, like, “What else would you expect?” She said she just doesn’t understand those who say, “Not my son…”
Deep down inside I have to say I think most mothers are in the majority when it comes to the feeling of, “Not my son.” When it comes right down to it, I am thankful I didn’t have to make that sacrificial choice but there are many parents who didn’t have any say in regard to the lives of their sons and daughters; wives and husbands who had no choice but to kiss their mates those good-bye kisses and children who had to pose for the last family pictures.
Jesus has said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 NASB)
Let’s remember Memorial Day is more than just my family and yours.
For a Memorial Day History check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Day
© Marilyn Sue (Libby) Moore 5-23-09
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