Today is a day for remembering, for giving thanks to others for their sacrifices.  Memorial Day – a day to honor those that didn’t return.  It is one of those days that you think about the friends, loved ones, family members, that gave all so that we could do and say what we want with our freedom.

There are many soldiers today that even though they are alive and walking among us, they gave all.  Their mental status, their body parts, their hearts.  They are the walking wounded.  Sometimes, a person doesn’t have to be lying in the ground to feel dead inside.  Today, I want to say a Thank You to those people.  The ones you see homeless on the street with the blank empty stares.  The ones that never truly returned to us.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.

It is hard to reflect on sacrifices that others made on our behalf and not feel a little guilty.  I was privileged to be on active duty during the 1st Gulf War.  I never saw combat. I was blessed, the war ended two weeks before I was to ship out and my orders were cancelled.  I am so grateful that they were, I had two very young sons and a husband I didn’t want to leave behind for who knew how long. But I would have gone, that was my life and my duty.

I have friends with children that have served and been injured in this current war.  I have one special one that is like a second son that almost didn’t come home.  He is always in my thoughts and prayers no matter the distance in time and space. He spent the last few years recovering and becoming whole again in his own way and is now on his way to college to learn a skill that will give back to many just like him.  He has my heart! I am so proud of this wonderful young man.

Including myself, family surrounds me that were military. My husbands family has served in just about all the services.  His Uncle Jackie was Army and didn’t make it back from Korea, he is buried in his home town.  His father Stan retired from the Air Force. His brother served for a while in the Army.  My husband was Air Force. My father, Paul served in the Air Force in Vietnam. I was Air Force and our oldest son was Air Force.  My Uncle Tom was Army, my step-brother is Army, my Cousin-in-Law was a Marine, my nephew was Army, one of my brother-in-laws was Navy, and no matter how hard I try to remember I am sure that I missed some. We all took an oath to Protect and Serve.  I personally would do it all again.

As you spend time with your families today, enjoying the freedoms you have, just remember there are those that gave ALL just for you.

May GOD bless the families that are missing loved ones. May they be comforted to know that many others around the world are grateful for them and their sacrifices.

Charlene McDonnough, SSgt, (USAF, Ret.)



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