I'd like to think I am a pretty patriotic person. I love America. The foundation of this country is amazing. The freedom that we have and the ability to believe what we want is something I don't take for granted.
I remember clearly 9/11. It hit very close to home. I didn't know anyone personally who died but I knew people who lost very close loved ones. I remember the feeling of unity this country had at getting "revenge" on the men who caused that awful day.
I also remember clearly the whole shock and awe thing. I was very pregnant with my first daughter. I had fears of war and drafts and all the deaths that would come along with this war.
Growing up I had a very close friend who went to West Point. He later went on to become an Army Ranger. My mind quickly went to him and his wife. Would he go and have to fight? He would have to leave his wife and child to go and fight for this country. What a scary thought. (he ended up doing two tours)
I watched on Facebook and MySpace his family and the journey that they went through while he was away. I couldn't help but be so grateful for them and the sacrifice that they had given for our country so that we could be safe.
All of this was a little bit of a distant memory until last weekend. Someone my husband came in contact with was told that his best friends son had been killed in Iraq. My heart immediately broke for this family. Thinking of the parents who kissed his face before he left praying that he would return. Probably thinking every night what he was doing worrying if he was ok.
I later found out that he was from the town I live in. He was also supposed to come home in a few weeks. I'm sure the family and friends thought how wonderful it was that he would be home soon. The nightmare could end. And then the awful news!
It turns out the wake for this young man is down the block from my house. As I drove by this place ready to go get my eyebrows done and have a fun night out i saw the place was packed.
Young kids congregated outside this funeral home in packs. They looked like babies!! Girls crying with big red eyes. Tons of guys waking around holding these girls trying to look tough.
Walking across the street I saw all these soldiers. These men in uniform coming out to see a fallen soldiers family. To pay respect to this family that just had their worst nightmare come true. Flags flying everywhere.
After seeing this I was immediately overcome with sadness. For the family and friends but also for this country. If you agree or not with what is going on right now doesn't matter. These men and women have literally given their lives for this country. They have decided for whatever reason in this time of war they would still choose to go and fight. Here we are as a nation coming up on an election and the talking heads are fighting about mrs Obama wearing shorts or mrs. Romney being a stay at home mom.
It really reminded me that I am a blessed girl to live in such an amazing country. It opened my eyes again to the sacrifice these families go through willingly. We live in a country where serving in the military is a choice and people still choose to fight.
Tonight when I go to bed I will remember to thank God for the blessings I have and all of the men and women who have fought an are fighting so that I can live the life I live