Honoring the fallen

While my dad was never in the military, and not even politically active, he taught us Little girls a reverence for war and history. From a young age I remember watching depictions of famous battles or wars, including Saving Private Ryan and We Were Soldiers. I think he has the entire Band of Brothers series on DVD. (And who can forget the beloved Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump??)

My mom, and her brother, were always interested in the Civil War and I learned an appreciation for that epic chapter of history at an early age, too. I could recite names and I knew the dates before my social studies teacher even taught me. I was probably in junior high when I first read Killer Angels, the second in a trilogy of historical fiction about the Civil War.

From there, my interest in war stories grew. While it was not until much later that my dad’s dad, my grandpa, told me, well, anything about his experience in the Korean War, I had learned so much about history through written accounts of the Holocaust, the Civil War, and even the Mexican-American War. I’m not sure what it was that drew me in to nonfiction. Maybe it was the stories of heroism, or unimaginable courage.

I have never personally lost a loved one to war. And I pray I never have to. When my husband joined the US Army, my appreciation for the military was rekindled. My grandparents were actually the first people we told about Aaron’s enlistment, because we knew they would understand. From there, a door into my grandpa’s past seemed to open. I’ve seen his Class A’s from 1952, and a map of North Korea that he’s kept all these years. We had even more in common when Aaron was stationed just miles from the DMZ. I’m thankful to have heard stories, even when they’ve evoked tears and hard emotions.

My grandparents keep in touch with their GI buddies. They’ve gone to numerous reunions, and have grieved when hearing of one’s death. I thank my grandfather for his service, though involuntary.

I continue to be enthralled by war stories, most notably those of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I just cannot get enough of the first-hand eyewitness accounts. Running the Bataan Memorial Death March is my way of honoring the fallen of not only the real Bataan Death March, but those past, present and future. It’s a way to show my personal sacrifice, though it will never compare to theirs.

Whether we’re spouses, widows, grandchildren, active duty servicemembers, friends.. something binds us all together beyond the colors of Old Glory.

It’s reverence, and remembrance. How will you honor the fallen?

>It’s over

>Now, I know planes haven’t landed and all connections haven’t been made quite yet, but we’re considering this over. Done. Finished.

I haven’t blogged this week because I’ve been so busy preparing for his return and also for the move. I’ve wanted to get as much done as possible before he comes home so we’re not so overwhelmed.

Today I’m calm, collected and ready to experience the next chapter in our lives. It will be different, amazing, challenging, but I’m ready.

I just can’t believe it’s over! Thank you, Jesus, for Your provision and grace.

>Delayed

>..yep. That’s the Army for ya. Aaron will be delayed from when we thought he was coming home. At first I was super ticked off because 1) Korea is the biggest Army fail, ever, and 2) I have way too many expectations of things that are not in my control… Hmm. I wonder why I keep having opportunities to learn this lesson. Annnnnd I’m pretty sure I jinxed it…

After I got everything out, and maybe some choice words escaped my mouth, I realized that this actually will work out better. We will have less time at home before we leave, but we have a lot to do so we won’t be pulled in five million directions and driving all over central Illinois to see people. This is not a vacation; this is preparing for a cross-country move. Now that it’s getting closer, I’m starting to realize that I need to take it more seriously. At some point we will be living under the same roof, in the same country, and even, are you ready for this? in the same time zone.

Today I worked out our budget in case we didn’t get an advance on our moving money. I went ahead and budgeted in money for spending in case we could go to Highland Games, which is now the weekend before the arrival date. Now, we can use that money to spend a couple nights at our favorite hotel to have some alone time before everything breaks loose and to also celebrate our anniversary.

Last year we celebrated early, and the year before we celebrated it late in a nasty Econolodge in Pit-of-Hell, Missouri, after Basic Training graduation. (The town was actually called St. Robert; I added my own colorful moniker. Sorry if there was any confusion.) It’s seriously been a year since we’ve had even one whole day to ourselves.

I really try to not complain about the Army and its shenanigans. I know that we knowingly chose this lifestyle and all that comes with it. Living this way does afford many things that are a huge blessing, like housing that’s paid for, great health insurance, and guaranteed paychecks (unless of course, certain people don’t feel like paying our military….). Aaron has had great training that will benefit him long beyond his military service.

I’m ready to get this show on the road.