Like many other Americans, this Monday I will sleep a bit late in my nice comfy bed. I will wake up to beautiful New England weather, and spend time with my family and friends. I will probably take a bike ride, and if it is warm enough, have some pool time. We will have a cook-out in the backyard. Life will be pretty darn relaxed and easy.
Approximately 175,000 Americans will have a drastically different type of weekend. Those Americans are our troops currently deployed in other countries far from home. They will be waking up in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, South Korea and Kuwait. Many will spend their days in difficult surroundings, life-threatening, dangerous surroundings. They will not be relaxing with family and friends having a backyard BBQ. They are thousands of miles away from loved ones, serving and protecting our great country and the lives of others in foreign lands.
They are our husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends…they are real people doing extraordinary things. I believe they, and the Veterans who went before them, are not just like us – those who serve in the military are cut from a different cloth. They have an astonishing drive, strength, and unwavering sense of duty. I can not fathom ever doing what they have done. Their families, too, are remarkable – they have bravely carried on, keeping family and home in tact while filled with a mix of fear and pride for their soldier.
Those who have served this Country should indeed be honored every day, not just this weekend. So many fought and served in a World War, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War… and so many other conflicts. Years ago, many had no choice – rather than volunteer, they were drafted…yet still they braved incredible situations with strength and honor. The ones who made it home safely to the arms of their loved ones can join us this weekend in our enjoyment of this freedom they fought so hard to protect. But many are still paying the price for their bravery, and deserve any and all support we can give them. And, of course, sadly, so many never did return home, instead paying the ultimate price in the name of duty. Those Americans are the ones we truly need to remember and pray for today and every day.
By all means, enjoy your weekend to the fullest. Revel in the fact that we live in this incredible Country. Take some time off from daily stresses and strains to have some fun, spend time with loved ones, and eat your fill of burgers and dogs on the grill. But at least a few times throughout the weekend, pause for a moment of peace and quiet. Salute the flag. Give some thoughts and prayers to our troops – current, past and future. Send a message, email, text, Skype, or mail to someone either serving far away to show them support, or to a Veteran who made it home from past service. Say an extra prayer for those who didn’t. And above all, if you are lucky enough to have a Veteran nearby, give that person a hug and say Thank You.
God Bless those who have made it possible for all of us to live free.