Today my heart is full of emotions as I think about the men and women who have severed our Armed Forces. I come from a long line of military service in my family. We’ve had someone serve in every war fought in this country. From the Revolutionary War to the current war in Iraq.
My Grandfather was in Patton’s Army during WWII, my great-uncles June and Glen were in Korea. My uncle Clint was in Vietnam. All of them came home from the war.
My grandpa however is the one whose service affected me the most however. I never knew he’d served until I was an adult. No one in my family talked about it. He was a man who quietly went about supporting and helping the Veterans in his small town. He was the president of his local VFW for years, and every year on Memorial Day he along with a few other WWII veterans would put on their uniforms and go down to the cemetery and raise the flag.
When he passed away in 2010 my oldest was 10 and had a special relationship with him. So when it came time to close the casket at his funeral and drape the flag over it, the funeral director had him do it. My siblings and cousins had been named as Pall Bearers and I as I carried that flag draped coffin to its final resting place and saw the young men standing in uniform waiting on us, the tears I’d thought were all gone began to flow once again.
The directed us to take a piece of the flag and hold it tight over him while Taps was played. When it concluded we reverently handed the flag over to the soldiers who folded it and then passed it to my cousin’s husband who was in the Army Reserves. When he knelt at my grandma’s side sandwiched by my ten year old sons, and handed the flag to her my heart broke.
It was a moment I know changed my life forever. I will never look at a flag draped coffin in the same light again.
To all the men and women who have worn the uniform of a United States Soldier I thank you. To the husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and siblings of those who never made it home I say thank you.