Hope Wissel

A Memorial Day Tribute

Happy Memorial Day! For some today is an extra day off. For others it is spending time with family and friends kicking off the summer season…Today is really about remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Those who gave their lives so that we might live in freedom. It is about celebrating the lives of those who dedicated themselves to serving our country and who returned home to their families.

USA Hero

Growing up Memorial Day was just another day off from school. As a Girl Scout, we marched in the parades but the true significance of the day was beyond my understanding. The Vietnam War (okay so I am showing my age),  still it didn’t touch my heart. My dad and step-dad both served in the military – I have listed to their tales but yet it never really sunk in.

LUT camo

Operation Freedom” some 10 plus years ago, the commitment of the military men and women and their families HIT HOME!  My best friend’s husband, Bill, was deployed for what they said would be 30 days. There were the 3 boys – Sean, Ryan and Shane as well as Jen who were all in school, active in various activities and not really understanding what would be dad’s first deployment. The days leading up to Bill’s leaving were filled with lots of paperwork – wills, living wills, etc. The weeks after Bill left were full of emotions – tears, anger, frustration – it was just too hard for the kids to understand that dad wouldn’t be home for awhile. A 30 day deployment turned into 6 months. Tough times for everyone – financially and emotionally.

When Bill returned home, we all attended the Memorial Day parade together. It took on a whole new meaning for me. It wasn’t just about a day off from work or school, it was a day to honor those who sacrifice their lives daily for us whether here or abroad. I am grateful for the men and women in the military, past, present and future who give their all so that we can live in freedom. The battle scars of war worn by these men and women are not always seen for the emotional toll that it takes on them and their families leaves a permanent mark. On the outside, all may be well but on the inside they carry the memories that will haunt them forever.

If you see someone in the military – stop and thank them, let them know that you appreciate what they are doing for this country. Check out my blog “Coupons for Our Troops” on a way that you can help our military families by simply cutting coupons. As the sun rises on Memorial Day, STOP and say a prayer asking for the safety of our men and women near and far who serve this country. Yes, you may have the day off from work or school and you may be able to enjoy barbecues with friends and family – but there are those in the military who don’t get a day off.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!