I love this country. The United States of America. It's a name that's associated with words like "freedom", "justice", "opportunity", "equality". But those titles come at a price.
Growing up, our church would do a special patriotic service over 4th of July weekend every year. I always loved that program. The songs, the fireworks, all the red, white, and blue. But as I got older, I started to become overwhelmed with emotion each year as the service men and women would come parading onto the stage in their uniforms. I had an eerie sense of awareness of the price so many have paid to build our great nation.
I have seen photographs from wars past and present. The faces of those who fight and have fought to defend our freedom. And I think what gets me so choked up is that they're people, Americans, just like me or my neighbor, or my best friend. They don't have a special genetic code that predetermines they'll be the one to fight for this country. They're not part of a robot army built in an underground bunker. They have families, dreams, goals, problems, feelings, love... just like all of us do. Only they've chosen to put themselves aside for something that is so much bigger than any one of us. And in doing so, many have made the ultimate sacrifice.
This morning I put two small American flags in my garden. Afterwards, Kyra asked me why I'd done that. I began to explain to her the reason for Memorial Day in "3 year old terms". It's amazing how striping things down to their simplest form for the sake of a child can impact a grown up. My husband and I both fought back tears as I explained the sacrifice many have made so that Kyra can go to church or wear shorts or eat at Chick-fil-a. I know she didn't fully grasp all that I was saying, but I did.
I wish I could personally hug and thank each and every person and all the family members of those who are serving or have served in our military. But since I can't, I'll just do the things I can, like never taking my freedom for granted and celebrating Memorial Day in their honor.
On that note, here are a few pictures from our Memorial Day weekend: