Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day Salute

My kid's school does a really great job of recognizing Veteran’s Day. We are a military town and we take great pride in our "Hometown Heroes." Yesterday I had the privilege of taking photos at school while 7 guys parachuted into the football stadium. I knew it would be cool. I knew the kids would like it. I wasn’t prepared for how deeply I would be moved by the experience.

The kids were pointing at the sky and cheering from the moment the first guy jumped. It was amazing to see how fast they were moving when they hit the field. The kids were in awe. I assumed they would be. I was in awe. I thought I might be. I was ready for this...or so I thought.

What I was not ready for, moved me to tears. The last two jumpers had American flags. One had a flag flying behind him...

...the other had a flag parachute. As the guys floated closer to the field the kids started stomping their feet. It was quiet at first, with just a few kids, but it quickly grew to the entire school. As they stomped they cheered, "USA! USA! USA!" I was DEEPLY moved.

It was beautiful. It was heartfelt. It was touching beyond explanation. These kids have a DEEP sense of patriotism. We have a large portion of military kids in our school. If you don't have a parent in the military, chances are one of your best friends does. They know the sacrifice. They TRULY know the sacrifice. They know it is an entire family that carries the load. The entire family sacrifices for the sake of freedom.

A week ago we were reminded of what that sacrifice can mean. We had a Navy Seal return home for burial. It is such a heart wrenching reminder of what these individuals are willing to put on the line for us. It is something I want my kids to understand...REALLY understand. I want them to know what freedom means. I want them to know that freedom is not free. I want them to know that some people give all for our freedom.

My kids stood very still and somber as the motorcade drove by. My 6 year old said, "Mommy, I am trying really hard to be respectful." What more can a Mom ask for?

Unfortunately, we have had the opportunity to pay a final tribute to 3 Navy Seals here in our hometown recently. I hope and pray that their families see the individuals who are there on the sidewalk to honor their loved ones. Our hearts break with yours. We are there to pay tribute for the ultimate sacrifice made. We are there to show love and support to their families. We are there to say "Thank You." We are there to show the other military men and women...we would be here for you. Your service means something. Your service, the sacrifices you make are worth paying tribute to.

And we do remember the sacrifices made. Today I am praying for all the families who are separated because of duty. I am praying for the families who don't have their loved one to hold. I am praying for the children who are growing up without Mommy or Daddy here to tell them goodnight. I am praying for those of you who have given the ultimate sacrifice and have lost your loved one. You are not forgotten.

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I absolutely love to get comments! Drop me a note and let me hear what you think. Thanks. -Heidi