Memorial Day Gratitude
Posted by Maria Elena on May 28th, 2007
It’s Memorial Day, here, stateside.
And, while some of my readers are in the United Kingdom, others in Canada and many others in the Far East,
I’m compelled to share my gratitude on this day for those who
laid the most precious sacrifice on the altar of freedom
(last statement taken from “Saving Private Ryan”).
Those of you who know me, know that I’m an Air Force Brat.
I spent my youth growing up in military bases, overseas and stateside
(stateside is a VERY military description of being on the continental United States).
My father made great sacrifices for our country in moving his family around,
in serving in Desert Storm and in being a great leader.
Now, he’s retired and a “full bird” Colonel and as his daughter, I couldn’t be prouder and more grateful.
Of all the challenges he met as a military man, I believe the greatest was the challenge in uprooting his family.
It’s difficult to communicate to “civilians” the great sacrifices a military family makes.
When you enlist, your entire family enlists. I do believe the film “Brats Our Journey Home”
is the only depiction that comes close to explaining.
Everyday, we military brats said the pledge of allegiance.
Every day we listened to the trumpet sound as the flag was raised and stood in respect as the
Star Spangled Banner played across the base right before the flag was lowered.
I mean EVERYONE stood in respect.
Every music was silenced; everyone in the cross walk stood still and at attention
(whether you were an enlisted person, a family member or a civilian on base);
every transaction was stopped;
no one new entered or left the base as guards stood at attention; in fact, every vehicle stopped -
no one continued to deliver anything, no one DROVE, every vehicle came to a DEAD HALT;
no one bought a hot dog, hamburger or soda, everyone stood still in respect;
even children on the playground stopped swinging and showed respect.
It’s a strange America, here, stateside when I see people
“chatting it up” and “feeding their faces” during the Star Spangled Banner.
Or, those who don’t even respect enough to remove their hats (even rodeo fans know to do that!).
Or, those who continue to change diapers, scold their children, talk on their cell phone or
walk around for a place to sit at the ballpark when their national anthem is played.
Fortunately, many have served to ensure that we, stateside and Americans abroad, can enjoy these rights.
And for those who don’t even feel a “tinge of gratitude” or who think
“the U.S. is one of the worst places to live” or those who “complain”
yet do or say nothing, try living overseas in a third world country.
I remember brown outs, martial law, curfews, buying water at the “water station”,
the 6 a.m dog truck coming to harvest dogs from people’s
front yards for food, and M16’s when I played a soccer tournament.
People Are The Brand - and every service man and woman who represents us and brands our nation.
You cannot imagine the things we take for granted that are “privileges” in other countries.
You cannot imagine what it’s like to live amongst other nations and be hated for being American.
In honor of those whose back built the brand called “America”, I salute you!!