Monday, November 11, 2013

Loyalty, courage, unconditional love ...

Marlene Terry
Taking the day off from my usual fare to remember with gratitude those who gave and still give their all, for the freedom we enjoy — our veterans, and those who are serving us now.

I'm not really from a military family, as someone in every generation of our family, hasn't always served in the Armed Forces. ... But there are many.

When I was a little girl my sisters and I knew that our Uncle Joe had been a pilot in WWII, and that Uncle Dennis was a Sailor in the US Navy.
Their choice to sacrifice everything if necessary, so that we might continue in the life we knew and enjoyed was respected and acknowledged.

Flags flew high at our home on all the days set aside to remember veterans. And even before I was old enough to understand how important their service was, I was taught that men and women who choose to serve like that were ALL very special.

... I still think of all the soldiers I've known, that same way.

My mother wore a certain necklace with pride. The pendant — a white heart with a red rose inside — that hung from a chain around her neck was made from wreckage from one of the planes Uncle Joe flew in.
The story as it was explained to me, was the plane in combat,  was fired on and hit. Pieces of the wreckage scattered throughout the fuselage. 
My uncle and his plane both survived, and later he had one of those pieces of wreckage made into the pendant my mother wore.
It was a remembrance, he said, that his love of family could overcome any obstacle.  
... When my mother wasn't wearing it, the necklace was kept wrapped up in tissue paper in a special drawer in her dresser.

Uncle Dennis came to live with us after his discharge from the Navy.  He was a student at the college in our town and our favorite babysitter.
He never spoke much about his experiences. But the minute our parents left for the evening, he would magically transform our living room sofa into a submarine ... of all things, complete with a periscope.

He was always the captain. And it was obvious that our adventures on that sub were laced with real-life experiences.
Now and then he would become very quiet and sad as a certain memory returned. But he would quickly dismiss the mood by holding all three of us together in a group hug.
"You guys are great," he'd say every time.

Today on Veteran's Day I wish I could shout from my rooftop how truly grateful I am for the sacrifice and service of those in my own family, of course ... but also, of all veterans! Those who have shown by example what loyalty, courage and unconditional love really mean.

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