|Life.com photo from Arlington Cemetary|
Today is not just "another day off work" or "another 3-day weekend". It's not just a day to score deals as the stores all have sales. It's not just a day to go to the river and party with friends. Actually, it can be all of that, but it is also something much more.
Today is set aside to especially think about and remember all of those who have died in combat. It's something we should do more than once a year, and honestly, one day is not enough to give to them compared to what so many people have given for us to have the freedoms we all enjoy. It's not just those who died in combat - those people all had families, friends, pets. They were neighbors, sisters, brothers, cousins, sons, daughters, coworkers, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers. They left behind loved ones who still ache for them. And they did it for a love of their country and a sense of duty to protect it.
Agent M wants to be in the Army when he is older. I will not lie - the thought terrifies me. But he tells everyone that asks that he wants to do it to protect people, which makes me so proud. The other day, he came to me and told me that when he is in the Army, he will die young. Apparently, a school mate told him that everyone in the Army dies young. I told him that was not always true, but it is a sad risk and reality. I don't know if I explained it right or soothed any worries he might have held under the surface. But it brought right to the surface my own fears. That does happen. Mothers have lost sons, and still continue to lose them every day. There are many years until Agent M will be old enough to join the Army, and many factors might change that choice, but that little talk still was enough of a kick from reality to keep me thinking about it, almost a week later. It also makes me wonder - what kind of sadness has that classmate's family felt, for a child to think that all people in the Army die young?
So, today I will not be shopping. I will not be barbecuing or out drinking and celebrating with friends. Not that there is anything wrong with any of that, we all celebrate differently. Agent M is with his dad this week, so it will just be me home alone today. Quietly painting, cleaning, and just being thankful that I can enjoy a peaceful day because of the countless people who sacrificed it all. This is how I will celebrate and remember the price of the freedoms I enjoy.