An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
I spent some time in two digital worlds today -- Marine Family Network and Facebook. In one world, I read with growing disgust the illiterate bickering of posters responding to a corporate page advising they would "go off the air" over the weekend and asking all to remember our military and veterans. Some posters ignored the message and bashed the company for their lousy service. Others posted that the company was stupid because Memorial Day was for the dead, and Veterans Day was for the living. Guess which world that was?
In the other world, the one I've realized is more my world now, I read every-day posts of family curiosity about practical deployment supplies, posts filled with confusion and anxiety written by new Marine parents asking for explanations, a sudden plea for prayers that threw me off kilter, sent by a mom I "know," one of whose Marine sons was severely injured in Afghanistan. And I read Double Dad's beautiful story of standing in a cemetery, mapping the history of service in his family via the names of fathers, grandfathers, uncles, friends carved on headstones there. And I knew the answer to the question I posed in the title of this blog . . .
I remember everyone who ever has and ever will choose to serve, living or dead, wounded in body or mind.
I remember the wives of those who serve, who stand watch by the window or the phone, who turn to smile at their sleepy children wondering when daddy will be home, pretending they don't wonder the very same thing. They make a home for their children and a safe haven that their husbands know they can return to.
I remember the parents who serve, who wake up in the middle of the night, seized with a sudden bad feeling for no rational reason, who then pray, sit down and write a chatty letter, rearrange the items in a care package, write a message of support to another parent who badly needs it.
I remember the brothers and sisters who serve, who go to school every day, carrying worries in their hearts that are heavier than their backpacks, who listen in pain as others, unknowing, spout simplistic opinions about war and those who serve.
I remember the children who serve, who know their daddies in photos and stories and a voice on the phone, then as a great big man who surrounds them in a hug that they suddenly remember.
I remember those whose worlds cracked and shattered the day they opened the door to two men in uniform.
I remember those who carve space out of their lives to in order to serve, who feed our wounded warriors, write them letters of support, stand for the families in their loss, create a digital world I can enter when I, too, need support.
I remember my father who served, as a Navy man, then a police officer of honor, a leader of men, a father who never, ever, allowed someone to hurt or disrespect his wife or family, who believed in the rule of law, who believed that we are all obligated to serve.
I remember my son, who serves now, whose choice to serve awes me, terrifies me, fills me up with love and pride.
In other posts, I've mentioned this image I have of an infinite line of Marine parents. Double Dad's story made me realize there is an infinite circle of those who serve, rippling outward, touching another, who then chooses to serve.
On Memorial Day, remember those who have, who do, and who will serve. The world we live in is their memorial.