On a warm and windy day last month, I spotted Old Glory waving her colors as I looked out the hospital window.
The sight seemed even more poignant than usual because the hospital stood in the middle of an Army Base ... Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Little Sir was less than 24 hours old, safely secure in the care of his parents ...
and so I picked up the camera.
and so I picked up the camera.
As I took picture after picture, imagining the snapping and flapping of the flag, my mind was almost overwhelmed by thoughts of beauty ... and sacrifice.
Some of us live at a distance; never seeing the sacrifices unless they involve death and make the headlines. Others of us view them from only a few steps away. But military families? On one level or another, they make sacrifices every day.
Little Sir was born into one of those families.
He is son #2 of Daughter the Younger and our Favorite Fatigue Wearer. His big brother (whom you know here as Little Man) already knows the routine ...
He's pretty comfortable in it, so I'm sure he'll be a good teacher. In fact, just the other day he went to Daddy's work and "changed out his stickers" when Daddy had a change in rank. Some day Little Sir will get to share that privilege.
|By the way, do you know that those "stickers" (aka patches) now have Velcro on the back? I know some men and women ... wives and mamas ... who've gotta love that!|
In the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia, there is a Family Gallery. At its entrance are these words ...
U.S. soldiers always have and always will face sacrifice, separation, danger, and all the challenges of being thrust into unfamiliar environments. Not only are these situations new and difficult for the Soldier, they must also be confronted and overcome by the Soldier's family through communication and courage.
Yes, of course I cried, although I tried to hide the tears. It's all so very real when it's MY family. Some of you know exactly what I mean ...
The Family Gallery includes a small room where children of soldiers can dress up like Mommy or Daddy; sometimes like Mommy AND Daddy. I can't even imagine ...
I love this picture ... when I can see it through the tears. How many children have played dress-up in that room? How many sacrifices have they had to make so Mommy and Daddy can do their job ... and keep the rest of us safe?
My own father was in the Army, but his time of service was a two-year stint between Korea and Viet Nam ... before I was even born. While I grew up with great respect for our military, I did not grow up in a military family. In fact, until my daughter fell in love with that "man in uniform," I'm sorry to say I was one of those who lived at a distance, affected mostly by the headlines.
Growing up, I didn't hear many Army stories from my Dad. No particular reason ... just something he did once upon a time. But Daddy was a paratrooper, and my Favorite Fatigue Wearer is, too (82nd Airborne Division). You should hear them swap stories! According to Daughter the Younger, her hubby loves telling his buddies that his wife's Grandpop was an "old school paratrooper!"
But that was then ... and this is now ... and I'm several steps closer to seeing the sacrifices of military families. I still watch as new recruits (often with families in tow), pledge their oath of allegiance to their country. My country. May we all do a better job of pledging our prayers, support, and encouragement to them.
As America celebrates Memorial Day, I add my most sincere thanks and admiration for veterans long gone ... and to those presently living ... and to those who currently serve our country. My flag flies daily for you ... and your families ... as I ask God to use you -- and me -- to bless America. In truth, to bless our world.
May your Memorial Day be filled with safety, gratitude, and God's richest blessings. I'll see you again soon.
I'm joining Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper
and Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch