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Protectors of Freedom

June 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 154

It is the day after Memorial Day and most people are returning to work. The parades and fireworks are done, the picnics eaten and the gardens planted. But, for me, the significance of the day still lingers.

There were many sentiments shared regarding our Armed Forces and those that serve our country. Regardless of your beliefs and political views, there is no doubt we need to recognize how fortunate we are to have such protection for our Rights Liberty and Freedoms.

I was thinking about what I take for granted, the choices I have, the times I spend moaning about the cost of groceries or gas and it hit me. I have that right because someone's relative fought in my name. They did not know me, were strangers to me, but they went to war and as a result, I am a free person with more rights than so many others in third world countries.

I never signed up for the Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, or Marines Corp. I know my Dad served in the Army but did not see battle. I know my Grandpa Joe was in the Army but do not remember where or when. So, for me personally, I have not dealt with anyone who had war duty and how it affected them.

But, I have friends whose relatives did serve in different wars and I know how they reacted. I have a girlfriend whose husband has served several tours in Afghanistan. I know she worries and prays for his safe return and she and her daughter miss him terribly.

I have friends who lost their son in law and I remember standing on the street as his hearse went by, watching the salutes and honor and feeling so sad for those who had to say goodbye to this young man. It tore me apart and all I could do was join the procession and salute as his coffin me by.

I know a few men who served in Vietnam and that is all I know because they would never discuss any details, ever. I grew up in the age when there were protests about our involvement there, and many young people even committed suicide to either avoid being drafted or to make a statement against that war.

I only have an arm chair warrior's view of World War I or WWII or any other battle. I read the history books; I watch the news and specials about Pearl Harbor, about Hitler, about Korea and the many other combats. What I am trying to say is that all of my experience, opinions and feelings are second-hand.

So, I do not know what it must be like to be the wife waiting for the husband to return and he never does. I am not mother who sends her son off to battle and prays nightly that he returns safely. As a daughter I have never struggled to understand where my Mom or Dad were and what a war really means.

I can only empathize. And today, be grateful beyond words. I do not understand nor do I live in fear as those in war torn countries do. And the reason I don't and hopefully never will is because of all those people who serve our country. Their commitment and courage have protected me and my family through all the conflicts and ugliness.

I met an elderly veteran the other day, who stoically stood in the heat, without one word of despair, passing out poppies. And I thought, "hasn't he paid enough, and here he is still serving" How dare I complain about trivial points when this man has faced war for me. I was humbled by his strength and fortitude and his quite acceptance that his duty was not done. I have since discovered his name is Bruno Kramarz and he served in Viet Nam. He was also named Veteran of the Year in Fulton, NY. He is very active in the Veterans and I was so impressed with his quite dignity. His daughter, Joann Bomgren shared his story with me after I told her I met him outside the store. He was there for hours, no complaints and waiting for donations for the poppies. He was also in the first car in our Memorial Day parade-an honor he has earned by his inspiring service to our country.

Even on 9/11, though it was now so much closer to home, it was not in my house, not in my town and not in my family. I could feel the pain and was so horrified, but from a distance that has kept me safe. And the people who serve in the Armed Forces have made that possible.

The price tag for them lasts a lifetime whether it is memories, injury, or the highest price, their life. For me, they are all heroes and so too are the families of those soldiers. The price of my freedom, of protecting me and my family was paid in full by all those brave people. A debt I can never repay but will forever recognize and be eternally grateful.

On behalf of my brothers and sisters, of my dad, of my daughter and most especially my granddaughter who lives in this free and bountiful country, THANK YOU. Thank you to all who have and will serve and protect the United States of America. Thank you.

Source: EzineArticles
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