I was talking on the phone to my daughter yesterday when she told me that my grandson would be singing a solo in his school’s Veterans Day assembly on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. Which got me to thinking about just what Veterans Day means to me. It’s one of those holidays that in years past, just kind of came and went. I guess I always participated in those little moments of silence, made sure my flag was flying and that was about it – typical American, I suppose.
But, as my children have grown into adulthood and as we now have three of our seven children serving in the military, Veterans Day has taken on new meaning for me. Or maybe it’s just a new appreciation for all our Veterans, past, present and future. I know it’s one of those things we don’t really like to think about, but our military personnel have given so much for people just like you and me.
In my hometown of Grove City, Ohio, this November 24th will mark the one-year anniversary of the ultimate sacrifice of Army Spc. Joseph “Joey” Riley. Joey was only 27 years old when he was killed in action in Afghanistan. Such a horrible loss. Although I didn’t know Joey personally, there is still a part of my heart that aches for his family’s loss. As the mom of two soldiers and a sailor, their loss causes my mind to wander and attempt to think the unthinkable. I push the thoughts aside with a heavy heart and begin to count my many blessings.
Veterans Day isn’t just about those military personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice, but rather it’s an opportunity to remember all those who have served or are currently serving in the US Armed Forces. In my family alone, I have uncles, brothers, in-laws, nephews, nieces, friends, children of friends and even three of my own children who have or currently serve. There are sacrifices that each of them have made in order to serve our country.
Veterans Day is really an opportunity for me to show my gratitude and respect for all those who have or are currently serving our country. It is moments like this that “thank you” seems so very inadequate. When the body of Army Spc. Joey Riley was brought back to Grove City last year, hundreds of people lined the streets to show their respect to the family and honor Joey’s service as the motorcade traveled from the airport to the funeral home. There were thousands of people who attended Joey’s service. I really can’t even imagine the magnitude of loss this family must have felt and continues to feel over the loss of their beloved.
Gratitude. Pride. Freedom. Selfless-service. Sacrifice. To all the men and women who serve, have served or will serve in the US Armed Forces, thank you, thank you, thank you!!
To our sailor girl, be strong, be safe and hurry home!!!
Til next time…