I had the honor and the joy of watching our annual Memorial Day parade with a veteran. He is a 6' 2" Marine, and his beautiful bride was with him. They dated for ten years after the Iraqi Freedom war.
|cookies courtesy of Baker "Bilbo"|
A car with veterans in it passed by, and I asked him why he wasn't in the parade. "Because I'm still alive, for one reason", he joked. His 19th birthday was covered on our local news station: he turned 19 in Iraq. I remember my Mom in that interview...
Another float passed by with old veterans singing patriotic anthems sitting on hay bales. They were grey-haired and bearded old men. "That's the group I belong with," he joked again.
A sign was held by a group, thanking our veterans. I turned to my brother and patted him and said, "thank you!" A glass hearse with an empty covered coffin was driven by, with a sign saying "This coffin is in honor of all those who died protecting our country..." It passed in silence.
Today, I pray for all of those who died at war. I pray especially for Eric, who died in my brother's arms. For their families. I pray for those who survived, too. And I thank God. I thank Him for bringing my brother home from war, through healing, and to the life he lives today. I thank Him that my brother was there to watch this parade, to hold my baby, and to be the handsome husband he is to my sister-in-law.
When I was little, my Mom would tell me about my grandpa in the Navy. She'd tell me about dating guys from the Air Force. She taught me about patriotism. Today Memorial Day isn't so much about men from the past. I "live" Memorial Day as a present reality. A reality of gratitude to these men from the past and the present. I pray for peace as I think of our country and the future.
May God Bless America.
We love you, Uncle Michael!!