Ok...so I couldn't wait until tomorrow to honor my husband. :) Happy Veterans Day babe - to you, the men you fight beside, and the ones you've lost. Prouder than any words could explain.
(text from layout - written in 2005) I grew up in the Washington DC area. I rarely visited any of the monuments or went to the museums unless we had company from out of town. Our family went to the Independence Day and Memorial Day concerts on the Mall every year. We wore our red, white and blue outfits. We sang patriotic songs. Our church always prayed for our nation's leaders and military people serving overseas. I had friends whose dads worked at the Pentagon or in some other branch of government. That was what America meant to me.
Then I moved to the South and started working in a job that put me in close contact with members of the military. My roommate was a pilot, my boyfriend was a navigator, all of my friends were in the Air Force. I dutifully sent them care packages when they were gone. I watered their plants. I picked them up in the middle of the night when they came home. We never talked about where they were, or what they were doing, or what it meant. My political views started to change a little. I became more interested in the news. I supported my friends and began to understand a little bit about military life. That was what America meant to me.
Then I met my husband. We moved to Hawaii. In August 2001 he left for Ranger School. We had no contact for three months. On September 11, 2001 our world changed forever. I sat on my couch for two days and wept. I prayed for the families of those who had been killed. I donated money to a fund for New York City firefighters and police officers. I put up an American flag in our window. I waited anxiously for my husband to come home to me - knowing that it wouldn't be for long. That we were at war. That was what America meant to me.
I have sent my husband off to war four* times since we've been married. I have received hundreds of cards from school children to send to his men because they would be far away from home at Christmas. I have prayed every night to just see his face or hear his voice one more time. I have walked to the other side of the street when I have seen protestors downtown. I have shipped care packages from men and women at a Senior Center who wanted to do something for the troops. I have argued with people I love about the need for this war. I have received emails from strangers to thank me for my sacrifice and my husband for his bravery. I have wept at the feeling of his arms around me after so many months of being apart. I have taken photographs of signs and yellow ribbons all over town. I have held my husband as we've mourned the loss of one of his soldiers. I have thanked God that I live in a country where I am free - where we are all free - to do and say and feel all of these things without fear. THAT is what America means to me.
*note - that number is now nine.