No matter where we are, when we see a service member, my children and I make a point to stop and thank them for their service. Most recently we were actually in line at a drive-thru. The tag in front indicated a disabled veteran, and there were service-related bumper stickers across the back. When the driver paid, I saw a prosthetic arm emerge from the window. As I pointed this out to my children and reminded them that the freedoms we enjoy were and are bought at a great sacrifice of brave men and women all around us, my eight-year-old asked permission to hop out of the car. Permission granted, she walked up to the passenger side and knocked on the window. When the driver rolled the window down, she simply said, "Thank you for your service. My family appreciates it." She got back in car and told us he smiled a huge smile and told her that her thanks had made his day. He waved at me from the driver's side and left with his food.
I am sure many of you have family members who have served. You might have served. Military service members and their families sacrifice a great deal for all of us.
From our family to yours, thank you.
Memorial Day is not just once a year in our house; we are reminded of the efforts of our military in the simple freedoms we enjoy in our everyday lives.
Military life can be really hard on families, but there are programs to help support them. Many can be found here: http://www.arfp.org/skins/ARFP/home.aspx. One initiative in particular is the the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program: http://www.army.mil/article/14011/army-reserve-yellow-ribbon-program-helping-soldiers-families-during-deployment-cycle/. The yellow ribbon symbol is often used to convey that an absent family member is welcomed home again, and yellow represents many different military divisions or corps. For more information about the history of the yellow ribbon, click here: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/ribbons/ribbons.html. For a list of colors and divisions in the Army, click here: http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us%5Earmc.html.
I have my fair share of red, white, and blue, but I really love these plates I found on eBay. They allow me to tie in the yellow theme of remembering our men and women in service.
I was lucky to find six, four from one dealer and two from another; they just happened to be listed simultaneously many months ago. I have never been able to find any others.
I love the detail of the servicemen, the Liberty Bell, and specific symbols which represent what their work is all about.
This image is particularly sentimental to me. It reminds me of the gates of the Old Capitol in Milledgeville, Georgia. I spent three years at the fantastic military prep school there before going to boarding school in Maryland.
My girls are walking ahead of me to the gate after the homecoming football game this past fall.
The old capitol building, a part of the Georgia Military College and Preparatory School now (http://prep.gmc.cc.ga.us/), this building was the seat of the state government of Georgia when Milledgeville was the state capital.
The cadets are in formation, honoring alumni.
At homecoming, it was wonderful seeing friends, many of whom went on to serve or become part of military families. We have had the good fortune to visit some of them here and abroad.
And when we are traveling, we are mindful to appreciate military history. We love to travel, experience other cultures and languages, but we are grateful to be American citizens. We have lived in one of the most remarkable nations ever created, and we appreciate it every day. And we always appreciate those who have protected it.