I took a real, honest-to-goodness, day off today. Like so many other real women, this is a rarity. I’m usually running around trying to play the game of beat the clock, fitting far too much into my day. (My siblings call it scurrying). Today there was none of that. I stayed in my jammies until 11am. I took a leisurely walk with my dog (I’m sure he was thrilled and shocked that mom was not rushing him). I got in an awesome bike ride, pausing to take some photos along the way. I relaxed and caught up on some magazines, gave myself a mani/pedi, and even fit in some writing time. Dinner was simple and relaxed with my family. It was a great day.
I did this day this way because I can. Because we live in an amazing country where we are free. We have free will, freedom of speech, we are free to do what we want, where we want, and say what we want (within reason, of course). I can sit in my backyard and look at the trees, listen to the birds, and just breathe…and I can feel safe doing so.
I can do all of this, or in my case today I can do “nothing”, due in large part to the men and women who dedicate themselves to protecting our country, and all of us within it. They aren’t staying in their jammies half the day, or taking the day off. They are on high alert. Those individuals in the armed services are not quite like the rest of us. Their focus, drive, determination, and bravery astonish me. I fully believe they bleed red, white and blue.
As much as I’m in awe of those who serve, I’m also terrified for them. The threat of injury, the physical, emotional and mental disabilities that plague so many is heart breaking. And, like far, far too many that we especially honor today, they paid the price, the ultimate sacrifice, all to keep the rest of us safe and free.
I suppose I can’t truly imagine what Memorial Day is like for the families who have lost a loved one due to military action. Loss of life is excruciating no matter the cause, but when it is in uniform, serving our country, I have to believe there are even more difficult mixed emotions. How do these families reconcile their anger and sadness with their pride and honor? Do they take comfort in knowing that their loved one took on a role that the majority of the rest of us could never be brave enough to attempt? Do they feel resentful seeing so many of us using this day for fun, or do they understand that their special person laid down their life so the rest of us could continue to celebrate ours? I don’t know.
All I can do is say a prayer for them all, and most importantly, for every second of this beautiful day, I can be grateful.
I can say Thank You.