One day a year is not near often enough to remember and be thankful for the people who have served and the lives that have been lost in order to protect us and secure freedom on our behalf.
Both of my grandparents on my mother's side served in the United States Navy, and, though they didn't die during their service to their country, they were both laid to rest in the most honorable fashion I can imagine, caskets having been draped with American flags.
Though their service isn't something they talked often about (it was only after my grandmother passed away that I found out that she helped to translate Japanese transmissions during WWII!) it was something that I was amazed by and was always quite proud of.
Yesterday, we made our way to the section of Memorial Park Cemetery reserved for the burial of military veterans, and there, past the rows and rows of American flags, beneath a small evergreen, we found their spot. The spot where their earthly bodies have been laid to rest side-by-side, forever honored for the sacrifices they made.
Yes, I do miss my grandparents, but, knowing that they are both in a far better place than anywhere on this green earth, the most emotional and moving part of our visit, for me, did not come from a place of mourning, but more so from a sense of pride, welling up inside of me. I love my country more than I could ever express and looking at the rows of American flags, waving regally in the wind, and looking out across the hills where tiny flags marked the places where hundreds of people now lay to rest - some giving of their time to serve this country, and others giving their lives... for me... it was all I could do to keep from letting my emotions get the better of me. Those people fought for what was right and were willing to give their lives in order to ensure that the coming generations would be able to live free.
Thank you Grandpa and Grandma J., as well as anyone else who has ever heeded the call and joined any branch of the United Stated military. We are forever grateful and may we NEVER forget the things that you have done (and continue to do) for us, to ensure safety and freedom for us all. Never forgetting,