Dust covers the hat, its fabric fragile in light of its age, the colors on the flag have faded with time—mementoes that remain of two men whose lives were important to me, who gave their service willingly for wars they didn’t cause.
I never met my father-in-law, who fought in WWI. When I married his son, the second youngest of six, the older man had already died. But my husband told me his dad was still refighting battles from the war the night he passed on.
My father fought in WWII. I have pictures of his time in Europe, his life with the soldiers, his youth spent in a bitter conflict. He and my mother married at the courthouse and she followed him from one assignment to another before Dad shipped overseas. Letters kept their love alive.
I have other relatives, classmates and children of friends who subsequently served in the Korean conflict, Viet Nam, and Iraq. All of them believed they were battling for our freedom, protecting a land unlike any other. Not all of them returned home.
Freedom is never free. A gift to be cherished, it must be guarded, nourished, and appreciated. We live in a country envied by most of the world.
This Memorial Day I honor and thank these soldiers for their sacrifice. I owe them a debt of gratitude for the life I live. I am free to make my own choices, pursue my own dreams, and fulfill the purpose God has given me.
To all our servicemen, I say, “Thanks. You have given much.” This Memorial Day is for you.
Philippians 1:3: “I thank my God upon every remembrance you.”