Memorial Day 2017

Today is Memorial Day. It was a good day to honor those who have given their lives so that I could enjoy today. 

As a family we celebrated by going for a walk at a local park. We had never been there before but it was a nice park and it was a great way. We also made some gluten free blueberry muffins and some gluten free bread. Oh my goodness I have missed my blueberry muffins. They have always been my favorite muffins and I have put off making them. The reason was I thought they would be so good, I would devour them all in one sitting. I was correct, I had to force myself to put them away.

We went over and had dinner at my in-laws. We had a good day as a family. We talked about why they were not in school today and what it means. I think even as you are in later years, if it wasn’t explained to you then you reallly don’t know the difference i Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. 

Personally I always thank veterans. So for me to say thank you to veterans on Memorial Day isn’t anything different for me. However there is a difference in the two days. Memorial Day is about honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. They gave their life so I could have mine the way it is. Veteran’s Day is about honoring all of the men and women who have served for our country. 

My Dad served during the Vietnam War. I can not say for certain if he would have served if he was not drafted but he did serve. Even with being drafted for the war, being in war and not talking about it much with us growing up, he taught us respect. We were taught to respect our President, respect our flag, respect our country, and respect our military. 

I admit growing up I didn’t understand it. I did it because that is what we did but now I understand showing the respect. A lot of times I will go up, shake a hand and say, “Thank you for serving.” I have also left a note on cars if I see a service member get out. I have passed thank you notes along in restaurants as well. I have also paid for meals if I have the extra and see a service member. 

How do I know that they served? I guess I can’t be 100% certain but I look for those who are wearing a hat that says something about being a veteran or if they are wearing a uniform. I know there are people out there who buy a hat to wear and they didn’t serve. Still if they wear it and I say thank you, maybe on that day they needed a little more love in their life. 

Sometimes I get a stunned look and than a, “You’re welcome.” Sometimes I just get to shake their hand and a stunned look. My favorite ones though come when I get a, “You’re welcome” and then a story. Some just want to talk about it and some don’t. One gentleman told me once that even though he was drafted and it was the hardest thing he went through in his life, he would do it all again so that he could sit in the store waiting for his wife to finish shopping. 

How blessed do you really feel being here in the United States of America? I often take it for granted. I know this is true of so many of us. We haven’t really lived in hardship the way other countries do. We have a lot of choices here that others do not have. 

I live in a country that allows me to praise and worship. I live in a country that allows me to make a choice if I want my children to be vaccinated or not. I live in a country that allows me to pick how my children will be educated; public, private or home schooling. I live in a country that allows me to walk around in the clothing I choose. I live in a country that doesn’t have war right outside my door. I live in a country that allows travel and vacations. I live in a country that has plenty of food and drinks. I live in a country that has a minimum wage and help for those who are struggling. 

I live here and I am free. I was able to enjoy my family today. I was able to go on a walk today. I was able to grill out and eat burgers. As a family we went to church yesterday and sang praise songs while I lifted my hands to worship Christ. I was able to watch the movie, “The Shack” this weekend with my husband.  All because of those who have fought for my freedom. 

Some gave all and all gave some!

I can’t imagine being in a war torn country on a daily basis. I can’t imagine living in a country that doesn’t have clean water to drink. I can’t imagine living in a country where children are starving daily. I can’t imagine living in a country that doesn’t allow you to choose who you worship. I can’t imagine living in a country that forces me to cover my whole body any time I am out in public or other people are in my home. I can’t imagine working all day for pennies. I can’t imagine what life is like for anyone who doesn’t live here.

I have been in other countries and I know that not all are bad. I am not ignorant and I realize that people in this country struggle. I know some live on the streets. I know that some are hungry when they go to bed and when they wake up. I also know the options here and care here is far greater than any other place I have ever been or I have ever seen.

We are free here. We can open a brick and mortar business. We can open a virtual business. We can find a job working for someone else. We can be entrepreneurs. We can go to church. We can go to a synagogue. We can go to a temple. We can go to a movie. We can rent a movie. We can play games on phones, computers, tablets and even game systems. We are free here. 

I so often see people put the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems but when you put that down, do you really think about how wonderful your life is? We are truly blessed and the reason we are so blessed is because of all of those who have made a choice, who have sacrificed, and who have given up something for you and me.

They either gave their time, their family gave their support and time or they gave the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their life and their family lost someone they loved. 

We haven’t always treated our veterans the way they should be treated and there are still times I am ashamed of what happens. Today however, I am pushing all of that aside and I am honoring each person who served and gave all for me. I am saying thank you for serving and I’m sorry for the friends you lost but today I am honoring them and remembering them. 

I hope you enjoyed your Memorial Day today. I hope you spent time with your family and your friends. I hope you took a walk in the woods or put your bare feet in the grass. I hope you looked outside at the sun and realized that you could step outside your door and breath in the fresh air.

I hope you let it all be enjoyed and took advantage of your extra day off of work or school. At the end of the day, I hope you took a moment to realize that this is all possible because someone loved you enough, cared about our country enough to protect our freedoms and our rights. 

You are so blessed! 

 

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