In my family, both of my grandfathers went to war but obviously that was way before my time. It has only become a realization of mine as to how huge a sacrifice it is for the individual and their families as I have grown into adulthood. A number of friends have spouses or siblings currently serving through active duty or reserves. I have watched one girlfriend take care of three kids while her husband flies for the Marines. Another friend almost lost her young brother twice as he has been seriously injured in two separate confrontations. My cousin has sent her husband to the battlefield for extremely long periods of time while she mans the fort at home. While I watch from the sidelines, safe and comfortable in my home, I can’t help but genuinely appreciate what these families are doing for our country. If not for them I may also be slightly desensitized to the grandeur of war and all that it entails.
Dr. Hamels’ article is the printed version of a speech he presented this past Memorial Day. He speaks to the importance of remembering these heroes in a way that is respectful and compassionate. I found his perspective as the father of a soldier and friend to many servicemen and women to be pointed and passionate. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on our own family traditions and acknowledgements on the special days that are set aside to remember what it means to live in America.
Thank you to those who have served past, present and into the future. It is a privilege to live in a free country that you have fought to preserve.