Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happiness is...remembering a hero.

I know I wrote a bit about heroes before but today I want to mention the real life heroes rather than the comic book/fictional ones. This post is a few days late in coming and I apologize but I didn't want the week to pass without taking a moment to express my extreme gratitude for all of those who have gone before.

I have a great legacy of ancestors as I've mentioned before. I come from a long line of pioneers (in the literal trekking across the plains sense and the more figurative sense) and those who have lived and died for their faith, their families and their beliefs. I continually wonder if they are looking down on me from the great beyond and shaking their heads in exasperation, cheering me on, or laughing at my constant stupidity. Either way, I know without a doubt that they are aware of me and what I am doing, at least to some extent, and we'll have an opportunity to commiserate or laugh together when my mortal sojourn is complete. That's a pretty great feeling as well as a big responsibility.

I also have what can only be called reverent pride for those who serve our country. Both of my grandfathers served in WWII; one in the Pacific Theater and one in Europe and Africa. Several of my uncles have served in the Army and Air Force in Vietnam and the current skirmishes in the Middle East. I've been blessed to have them all return relatively unscathed (can anyone who has seen war be truly unaffected? I doubt it.)  But I know that there are others who aren't so lucky. And I know that they rarely get the credit, recognition and appreciation they deserve.  Often they are the targets of public ridicule from those who oppose whichever war may be going on (as if the service men started the wars themselves) or the government when the war isn't going the way they'd planned (when do wars ever go as planned?) They sacrifice their time, their families, their sanity/health and often their lives for very little in return. And I want to give my personal appreciation for every single one of them past and present who fight and patrol and serve in so many ways to help preserve our way of life.

One of my favorite things about living in the DC area is the pervading influence of patriotism in the air. Rarely a day goes by that I don't see someone in uniform or see a reminder of what they are fighting for. I love the spirit you feel at the monuments and memorials and want to share just a bit of it here in honor of those who give so freely.

Air Force Memorial

WWII Memorial (with Washington Monument in the background)

Korean War Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

Arlington Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Heroes don't always wear capes or have mystical powers but they always save the world, even if it's just their little corner of it. My hope is that I will be able to live my life in such a way that I in no way cheapen the sacrifice that others have made to get me where I am today. God bless those who have gone before and God bless those who serve. Happy (late) Memorial Day.

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