Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Thoughts...

As I said earlier, I kind of want to post my thoughts on Memorial Day. My view of Memorial Day has changed quite a bit from pre- Michelle going to Iraq. Since my sister has gone to Iraq I have developed a whole new view on Memorial Day. Michelle has shared interesting tid-bits with me about what she has been through in Iraq (well, at least what she can share without getting into too much trouble). Since my sister's accident on April 22nd. I have seen the war in a whole new light. Realizing that the people who get injured over there have families back here that will never be the same. That has made me kind of look at Memorial Day a little bit differently.

People always say Happy Memorial Day. However, i am not really seeing anything "happy" about it. I mean, the reason for Memorial Day is to remember those that have died fighting for our country. Also, to remember those who have just fought for our country whether they will injured or not. Even when you are not injured in war or not, there is still a great amount of mental anguish that you go through from being in war. Although I cannot speak from personal experiance, i speak from the perspective of having a sister who, at only 20, is serving our country in a very hostile enviroment. Even before the accident, after she had been over there about a month, I noticed quite a change in her attitude and just a change in her period. She doesn't seem like the same person who left for Iraq. She takes things a lot more seriously and just has a whole new perspective on life. She also had seen so much stuff in such a short amount of time that it has really changed her completely. Then after the accident, well the change has been even more dramatic.

So as Memorial Day rolled around I began to think about what exactly Memorial Day is. After having a sister serve in the Army and head over to Iraq, my perspective has totally changed. When i was still living at home, before I got married, whenever Memorial Day would roll around, I kind of looked at it as a chance to get together with my family and just hang out. This might offend some people, but i never really thought about the meaning of Memorial Day. Sure, I knew that it was to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and to honor those who are currently serving our country. But, not to sound ungrateful, I just didn't really seem to care about it. I was just happy to be able to not have to work for a day and still get paid for it. I was just happy to have a day off of school. It was just a reason for me to hang out with family and friends, eat lots of food, and just generally be lazy for a day. I knew that the day was to honor our military but it just didn't mean that much to me because i didn't really know anyone who had served in the military.

However, after everything that my sister and fellow soldiers have endured durning this war, I learned to look at Memorial Day in a different way. There is really nothing 'happy' about Memorial Day. There are currently people in Iraq getting hurt, killed, taken hostage and everything else. I don't see anything 'happy' about that. There are hundreds of people who have missed the birth of their first child, first days at kindergarten, high school graduations, college graduations, weddings and holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and many other special moments in life because they are off fighting a war. I don't see anything 'happy' about that either. I have realized that there are a lot of everyday things that I take for granted. I have the comfort of sitting at home in my comfy chair watching television. I get to sleep in my nice warm bed every night. I get to get up everyday and take a nice warm shower. I get to call and talk to my family whenever i feel like it. I get to go and hang out with family and friends anyday of the week that i feel like. There are people right now, in Iraq, who probably haven't talked to their family at all this week, or even within the last two or more weeks. They don't have nice warm beds to sleep in. They don't have the option of taking a hot shower every morning. Heck, my sister says that she is lucky if she gets a shower once every other day. Our soldiers in Iraq can't just pick up a phone whenever they feel like it and talk to their family. They have jobs to do that take them far away from a phone. They can't hang out with their friends back home, except for their friends that are serving with them. They miss out on a lot. They sacrifice a lot. I thank them for everything they are doing right now. It takes an incredibly strong willed person to endure what they endure every day.

Now when i think of memorial day, I think of those people who are currently serving our country. They don't have the pleasure of grilling out with their family. They just have those yummy MRE's (yummy isn't exactly the word I would use but I will anyways). I also think of those people who have died during this war and all the others. Young people who will never get to experiance the joys of getting married, graduating college, having children. People who never got to say goodbye to their loved ones back home and who left children, grandchildren and spouses behind, grieving. Memorial Day has taken on a whole new perspective to me. A rather somber one at that. I don't really see anything especially happy about memorial day.