Monday, May 26, 2008

If I could suggest

Today is Memorial Day. I hope you have a lovely day. Most people spend it BBQing, picnicing, hanging out with family. I do hope you pause to remember what the day is about.

Giving honor, in memory of U.S. military men and women. While I do find myself at odds at times looking back on different wars and how I feel about them, I need to pause to remember that the soldiers in those wars sacrificed their lives - quite literally - to be sure that I was able to sit here and reflect on my feelings. Many soldiers throughout all the wars didn't feel like they agreed with what was going on, but they had a commitment to God, country, and family. That I respect.

Which brings me to my next point. My husband joined the military for his family. Granted, it was a lifelong desire of his to serve but his little girlfriend (me) years ago said "Mmmm.. I don't want to be a military wife" so he didn't join.

When the war in Iraq started, and there was a crisis due to the size of our military, my husband felt obligated to volunteer. Why you ask? There were a LOT of reasons, to be sure. But in order to keep our military service all volunteer, those who are able to volunteer need to do so. There was some discussion in Congress for a while about the return of a draft. And thanks to all the hard feminist work for creating equal opportunities for women in the military - he was seriously concerned that would open the door to drafting women for service also. Obviously, you're free to agree or disagree on whether that's a good idea or not, but being my place for thoughts I will state how detrimental of an idea I think that was. And that's exactly where Jake was.

He never wanted to see his sisters or daughters drafted to go to war and felt an obligation to serve to show there are still men willing to give up some of their time and potentially even their life to protect their family, specifically the women, from all sorts of harm - including the harm that could come from drafting women.

I hold great honor in my heart for all military service men and women. The life they live is not easy. Deployment isn't easy. Reintegrating back into the U.S. culture is not easy. Being away from their family is not easy. Coming back to their family is not easy. Being a part of a war they may not agree with is not easy. Coming home to a country that mostly does not agree with the war is not easy.

While not all soldiers suffer a fatal casualty in their service, they still have sacrificed their life. Missing out on births, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. They miss out on years of their children growing up. They miss out on the time to develop deeper relationships with their loved ones. Often times their marriage is sacrificed due to the strain that military life puts on it - the divorce rate in the military is ridiculously high.

And yet while all that potential negativity exists and is known when they join the service, they join anyway. Why? Because they feel a deep calling to be available to protect me and you in case there comes a day when we need protecting. I deeply honor and respect them for that. To know of our own story, what life was like for us when my husband was gone and what life was like when he came home, I greatly appreciate the families who do this full time. The husbands and wives who are deployed numerous times. The families who make adjustments over and over. The tears, prayers, and heart ache that are poured out. They may not have suffered a fatal casualty - but they have certainly suffered a life casualty.

God bless you and your families. I hope that today you can bless a solider and his/hers. Give honor to those who have gone before us and sacrificed their lives in a battle, and honor to those who battle each day to be sure that in this great country we have the freedom to sit here and reflect.


danica said...

I love Memorial Day. Like you said, regardless of our ideas about foreign policy, the bottom line is that soldiers have made it possible for us to be where we are. Ryan does such a good job at stopping anyone on the street who has a shirt, hat, pin or whatever that indicates they're a soldier or vet. He loves to let them know that there are people who hold them in high, high regard. But having a holiday to MAKE us remember is such a good idea.

But this year I'm pretty disappointed. Back home, every single little town, even Madrid, has a ceremony of sorts. But not here. You wouldn't even know it was a holiday weekend, except that everyone was buying ridiculous amounts of beer at the grocery store on Friday.

Isn't that a shame? I think so.

brietta said...

This Memorial Day was particularly poignant for many of us, since a girl in the church lost her army husband last fall. It makes the sacrifices of so many that much more real, you know?

Anyway, I agree. I didn't grow up thinking Memorial Day was just another long weekend. Even without Daniel and the kids here, Aubrey and I walked to the little parade and ceremony here in town. It's important. I want my kids to grow up knowing to put their hand over their heart during the national anthem; I want them to respect the older men who have seen things and lost friends on our behalf during wartime (and for some, even peacetime); I want them to know the pledge of allegiance; I want them to be thankful. Not because I think our nation or all our policies are perfect, but because there have been countless men and women who have sacrificed incredibly on our behalf, and that counts a whole, whole lot.

Great post, Katie.

Jenn said...

Katie, Great post and a great reminder to us all.
Thanks for your comment on my blog. When we first started homeschooling I had a really hard time with the clean house thing. Over the years I have had to learn to let it go. I keep the house reasonably clean, but there is always some sort of clutter. Dishes in the sink is very common and toys strung over every inch of the floor from my 2 year old. Somedays wanting the perfectly clean and orderly house still haunts me, but for now I have learned to put teaching first.

Erin said...

Wow... Great post! Thank you for the reminder!

Please tell your husband- from us fellow Americans- thank you!