On this Memorial Day in 2015, take a minute or two and contemplate the notion of being 'free.' Whenever I hear the word, I automatically image being on the wings of an eagle, soaring high above the earth. The air is so pure up here, the view is absolutely amazing so much so that it takes my breath away. While gliding from cloud to cloud, I think I hear the melodic voices of angels. There are million of spirits that have been released from their bodies passing by. Their weighless abandon is refreshing. I find myself wishing that I, too, could be set free from my bodily constraints.
Then returning home from my 'freedom flight,' my thoughts turn to the men and women who fought so valiantly for our country, and gave their lives to let 'freedom ring.' These folks were firm believers in that what they were doing mattered, not just for the resolution of the war-at-hand, but for the years and years of peace that would follow, allowing not only their families, but all families in the U.S. to live without threat or fear of retaliation. Their sacrifice made it possible for all of us to grow and prosper. Because they gave their lives, we continue to be free to get an education, secure a meaningful career, start a family, choose when to retire, and live in peace and harmony until our own spirts are set free.
About five years ago, the husband of a dear friend of mine died. Gene had served in Vietnam. Many of his wartime buddies attended his funeral. As we gathered at the burial place to say one last good-bye, the veterans stood in the back of the group, with heads lowered and tears in their eyes. After placing a rose on the coffin, my legs guided me to the line of service men. My heart was filled with such admiration for warriors I'd never met, yet felt bound to with unbreakable ties. As I thanked them for their unselfish heroics, each one looked at me but said nothing. No words were needed because their faces conveyed that no matter how much they suffered, they fought so that you and I could be free. The only thing I managed was to hug these brave souls and cry with them.
We owe our veterans of war everything, not just a yearly parade or a flag placed at their gravesites. To those who are still with us, they are entitled to the respect and admiration of a nation. They deserve the best medical care available, a comfortable place to call home, and a job worthy of their time and talent. To those who have passed, they are also entitled to our respect and admiration. They deserve to be interred in a place of honor, their families provided for, and their memory never forgotten.
We are free, able to soar, able to experience that which leaves us breathless, able to hear the voices of angels, able to look forward to the day our spirits will be set free.
What a glorious feeling, being free! Show your gratitude today and everyday to those who made our freedom possible.