It's Memorial Day and I know people are off today with their kiddos. You are probably having a family picnic or maybe heading out to a Parade. McLachlan and I will be doing this as well today. Before you rush off and start your day I thought I would share a little story about my family. I know I usually post deals, parenting tips, advice, crafts, recipes you name it but every once in a while I include you readers into our lives. This is such an occasion. Every Memorial Day you will probably see this post because it will ring true and hold heavy on my heart as it does today. (All the pictures are of my own taking and are actual real events). On August 10,2010 my Mother, McLachlan and I drove down south to a Marine base. I will leave names and locations out of this for obvious privacy reason but those of you who have served can figure out which one I am referring to. On August 11th, 2010 we were told my Brother's company was due to come home.
My brother enlisted into the Marine corps before he graduated from high school. I have to say I was against it. My Mother signed the paperwork anyway and he was due to report within the week. When he told me this was what he wanted to do I was devastated and cried. He and I had gone through so much that I felt I was loosing my best friend. We had been friends since we were young and never fought like "normal" siblings. I couldn't imagine not looking out for him. Missing all that time and I was sure he would get hurt and maybe even sent overseas. After boot camp the war was upon us and he was sent to Iraq for a 2 year tour. A few minor scares hardly any contact and many cancelled times to see him later, he came home for a few days. Only to then be deployed again, this time to a hostile area in Afghanistan.
I can't tell you how many care packages we sent of gold bond, foods and bath essentials. Letters, hit or miss phone calls and emails. Our lives were lived completely separate, he missed out on holidays, birthdays, Johnny's Lunch and Lena's Pizza. Although, I will say that Johnny's Lunch ( a local hot dog shop) did send out care packages, of their famous Hot Dog sauces, to the troops. He was hurt pretty bad several times and the Red Cross did contact us with information when they could. The time finally neared when his company was due to come in. Anyone who has had a loved one deployed knows that they do not give exact times or dates of when they arrive just a two week time frame. We had not heard from him at all and was wondering what was wrong. So we arrived anyway and waited along with millions of other families in the hopes he would come home safely.
I watched with my little one as the ships came in and the hover crafts beached soldiers on land. Hours and hours went by in 90 degree weather but we didn't care the anticipation of 4 years of not seeing him was enough to wait. We held onto the dream he was alright and would make it home safely. Can you imagine waiting for days on end for two weeks never knowing when they will actually come in, if at all? This is how the military families live everyday.
So the next time you thank a vet, also thank their families!
My brother did in fact make it home! I was, We were one of the lucky one's! He will have those memories and experiences for his life time. I can't imagine what it was like. I don't pretend to understand years later. I know it was the best decision he could have made. My first worries and fears although logical where wrong and he was right. It was the right fit for him.
His life has benefited from it in many ways.
What am I thankful for? To me this is not a "holiday", Memorial Day, is a remembrance! A time to reflect on those who have served whether you believe in why they do it or not. A time to realize they gave their lives (or put them on hold), to help others with the ideal they are protecting each and everyone of us. So today along with all the other VETS out there we will be thanking today, our hearts will return to that day he walked off the Humvee and entered back into our lives again.
My brother, My friend, My hero!