One of the holidays we celebrate in this great county is Memorial Day. We usually look at it as the gateway to the summer. School will be out soon. It’s a holiday mostly spent outdoors. But to those who have had family members serve in the military, it is so much more.
It is a day to remember those awesome men and woman who died while serving in the armed forces. I would wager that most families can look back at someone in their family who served in the military.
My daughter, Megan, served briefly in the Air Force. I’ll never forget when she came into our bedroom late one Sunday night.
“Mom. Dad. I need to talk to you.”
Never what you want to hear from your nineteen-year-old daughter when she’s already acting rather nervous.
“I want to enlist in the military.”
Well, of course, I was shocked. I’d never even heard her talking about this as an option for her future. She loved car racing and I thought she might want to get involved in NASCAR, but the military? She was attending college at the time, although she wasn’t really enjoying the experience. I chalked it up to a phase. Like she was trying to figure out what to do with her life.
Well, she’d figured it out. In a big way.
After her father and I picked our jaws up from the bed, we started asking questions. Seemed Megan had been talking to a friend who was definitely enlisting soon. She wanted to do something bigger than herself. Wanted an adventure, to travel and work with a team. As she grew more passionate about moving in this direction, I knew there was no way to talk her out of this decision.
So we recommended she see a recruiter. Figure out which branch fit her personality. She already knew the Navy was out, she got seasick. When she came home and announced she was going to try for the Air Force, I was still pretty nervous. What if she got deployed? Later, her recruiter told me it wasn’t a matter of if, but when. Mom did not like that answer.
Through a series of stops and starts, Megan finally left for boot camp. At the end the four long weeks, I flew out to Texas to see her graduate. This had to be the most humbling experience ever.
All these young men and woman marching out onto this great big field in timed precision and order on a very cold December day. If you ever have the change to go to a military graduation, please, attend. It’s one of the things that makes you proud to be an American. The music played, the flags waved and my heart swelled with pride.
The weekend flew by with many different ceremonies, but what I remember the most is the look of satisfaction on my daughter’s face. She’d made a decision and stuck by it. She went off to school and then into her chosen field.
When you look at these young people willing to stand up for our country, it makes all the pettiness of politics pale. We live in a great county. We’ve raised men and women who care about more than themselves. They make the sacrifice to serve every day. And we should honor them.
No matter what you choose to do this weekend, take a few minutes to reflect on those who gladly gave all for our country. Look at the holiday through a different lens. And have a very happy Memorial Day.
Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. She is currently working on new stories for Harlequin Heartwarming, The Business of Weddings series, as well as books in the Amish Inn Mysteries. Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books