Memorial Day Thoughts

Recently I traveled to Florida and on my flight from Louisville to Atlanta I shared a soldier’s last journey home.  The experience heightened my personal awareness and reverence for the profound contributions of our servicemen and women.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddiecoyote/5315469744/in/photostream/Image Credit

 

Today is Memorial Day, a day dedicated to remembering those who have died while serving our nation.  This day is a unifying way for all Americans to commemorate our shared history.  Today especially we honor those who have sacrificed everything to protect our freedoms.

 

“A hero is someone who has given his or her

life to something bigger than oneself.”

-Joseph Campbell

 

Only after the plane landed, the pilot shared with us that a fallen soldier was also on board.  When the plane reached the gate, nobody moved, sitting in reverential silence as the honor guard descended the steps to the tarmac.

I sat there speechless with my fellow passengers, internally processing the extraordinary selflessness of his service and his family’s great sacrifice.  He forfeited his future to preserve ours.

He died for our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, values treasured by Americans since the time of the Revolutionary War.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriswaits/5786211950/in/photostream/Image Credit

 

My seat was on the opposite side of the plane to where the honor guard saluted his arrival at the airport.   I did not witness his flag salute, but I paid him tribute in my thoughts.  When I finally left the plane his cortege was moving away, led by a dedicated transportation vehicle, adorned with the stars and stripes.  On the side the following words were painted:

 

“All Give Some,

Some Give All.”

 

This unknown soldier may always remain nameless to me and my fellow passengers, but in our hearts we commemorated his American identity and his sacrifice to protect our liberties.   As a nation of families and friends our thoughts were with his loved ones.  We will never forget their sacrifice, suffering and grief.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/goaliej54/2535289182/in/photostream/ Image Credit

 

“On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes

of a mighty nation!”

-Thomas William Parsons

 

Today, as I think back on this moving experience my prayers are dedicated to the memories of all soldiers killed in the far too many wars this nation has endured for the sake of liberty.

 

“And I’m proud to be an American,

where at least I know I’m free.

And I won’t forget the men who died,

who gave that right to me.”

-Lee Greenwood

 

 

May God Bless America and her courageous sons and daughters.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

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Comments

  1. Amen.

  2. Grammy says:

    Oh my…Being married to a retired sailor, having a daughter who has served in the Navy who is also married to a Chief still serving in the Navy, I tend to get very sentimental about all things military related. I cry at sporting events when the national anthem is sung. I get teary eyed when I say the Pledge of Allegiance. If I had been on that plane I would have bawled for a week…..what an honor to have shared the plane with someone who gave everything to his country. Thank you for sharing this story with us….

    • Grammy – I think everyone on that plane was teary-eyed, thinking of his sacrifice and that of his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them this week as they mourn their great loss. And a big thank you to all of your family, who have served and still serve our nation, for their commitment and self-sacrifice.

  3. Mairead, what a moving experience — and what an honor to have experienced it. Thanks for sharing. It helps bring the sacrifices made up close and personal…

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