(Photo originally posted here: http://www.veteranjournal.com/the-price-of-free-speech/)
Today is Memorial Day.
It’s a national holiday, celebrated every year on the last Monday in May, when we remember and honor the military men and women who gave their lives for their country.
As a child, the significance of Memorial Day was minimal to me. My day’s a vet and he would often take us to a nearby military cemetery for Memorial Day, where we’d listen to speeches, cover our ears when the gun salute happened, and walked amongst the white headstones of men and women we didn’t know.
As a teenager, the holiday became little more than a reason to gather with friends and family for a barbecue, or to catch up on homework. Gathering with others wasn’t, isn’t, a bad thing, but I don’t recall the reason for the gathering as a time to remember The Fallen.
As an adult, Memorial Day means more than it ever did. I didn’t marry a military man, but I’ve reconnected with high school classmates who serve. It’s their reminders these past few years that have really driven home the need to remember this holiday for what it is.
I come home knowing my husband will be there, knowing that he’s never gone for more than his eight hours at his job. I come home to my daughters, knowing that I won’t have to explain to them where their dad is and why he’s not coming back. I come home knowing I’ll sleep soundly with my husband by my side and our daughters tucked away in their beds.
I could argue that war has no affect on me. But that’d be a lie. If it weren’t for the brave men and women who gave their lives, I wouldn’t have the life I have now. Our country may not be as free as it is now. That freedom that I so thoroughly enjoy would be nothing more than a dream, wistful musings of a wife and mother who wishes for something better but doesn’t know how to get it.
And while I may never don a uniform for any military branch, there are men and women who do. And while I may never be sent overseas to defend our country and those who can’t, these men and women do. And maybe the sun will set I my time on Earth forty or fifty years from now, but it may happen sooner for these men and women.
For those who have gone before their time, for those who gave more than I can possibly fathom, for those who fought and died so bravely, thank you.
Your sacrifice is the reason for my freedom.
And my freedom is enough of a reason to remember you today.