Sometimes I forget why we celebrate certain holidays, especially these long-weekend ones that often end up being an excuse to forget about school and play games with my family. Visiting the National World War I museum today helped remind me what today is all about: remembering those who gave their lives to keep us free.
It struck me that we pay so much attention to those who died—and it’s entirely fitting that we do so, don’t get me wrong—but we tend to forget about the families. I think they have it even harder than those who died, because they have to live with the pain, with the irreparable hole in their lives. So, in this post, I want to thank not only the servicemen who died, but their families, who supported them and gave them up.
Thank you for knowing what the war might do to you and your loved ones, and letting them go anyway. Thank you for facing the possibilities and choosing the hard path with them in sight.
Thank you for enduring not only the death of a person, but the death of your dreams, your future. Thank you for giving up your plan for a greater good.
Thank you the weariness of a wife left to lead a family by herself. Thank you the loneliness of a betrothed one left who thought they’d finally found the one who would that eliminate loneliness forever. Thank you for the pain of a parent whose child went ahead before them.
Thank you for loving your family members so much that you were willing to let them obey their country, their hearts.
Thank you for your support, for being the ones who kept the soldiers going, gave them a reason to fight, something to look forward to when they came home.
Thank you for the long nights, lonely vigils, tearful prayers, aching hearts, weary bones, worn letters, lost years, shattered dreams … and so much more.
And I thank you, those whose loved ones didn’t die physically but came back forever scarred, changed. Thank you for your example of selfless love as you cared for them.
I know these words aren’t nearly enough to touch upon what you lost, what you gave, what you endured, but please know that we remember you. We honor you.
“Our sacrifice is greater than his,” cried Rilla passionately. “Our boys give only themselves. We give them.”
~ L. M. Montgomery, Rilla of Ingleside
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