Memorial Day Musings

by Abby on May 30, 2011

American flagI distinctly remember the feeling of culture shock when I lived in France for a semester in college, my first time abroad as an adult. All the little things I took for granted at home in America – 24-hour convenience stores, 7 different brands of yogurt to choose from, friendly waiters — were suddenly foreign concepts. (Pun intended.)

I truly believe that you cannot see your own country objectively until you travel outside it. You realize not everyone lives the way you do, not everyone sees the world or Americans the way we do. Now, France is no third-world country (though I’ve been to those, too), but I came home from that trip a changed person.

One thing that’s great about America is that people can choose whatever job they want. (Within reason, of course. I’ll never be a rocket scientist or a celebrity spokesperson.) And I am eternally grateful for people who take on jobs that I would never consider in a million years. Like garbage collectors and tax attorneys. And soldiers.

I think about people in the military a lot, although I don’t know that many. (Shout out to my favorite, Jim H., a Vietnam vet who lived in my apartment building back when I was dating guys who cared more about their cars than me!) I think about how hard it must be for military spouses, to have to be a single parent for months — even years — on end, with very little help and so much worry. I think about how hard it would be if my husband or sons were off fighting in a war somewhere.

Every time I see uniformed soldiers, say, in the airport, I want to acknowledge them but I don’t know how. Is it patronizing for a random person like me to say, “Thanks for your service”? I don’t know. I should ask Jim sometime. Instead, I usually just smile and point them out to my sons, saying, “Those soldiers protect our country.”

And it’s a pretty great country. On this Memorial Day, thanks to all who serve it.

LINK O’ THE DAY: In our area, we regularly donate clothes, toys, and household items to Purple Heart, an organization that helps disabled veterans. If you live in NJ, DE, PA, MD or VA you can schedule a pickup online.

READ O’ THE DAY: In this Redbook article, 3 military wives discuss what it’s like to be “Married to the Military.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim May 31, 2011 at 3:30 am

My husband gets approached frequently when in uniform and appreciates it when they say “Thank you for your service.” I even get people thanking me for supporting my husband who is in the service. My husband has never said anything about it, he’s the humble type, but I think it means something to him that people acknowledge it only because it means they are supporting our military and are grateful for defending our freedom. 🙂 Thanks for writing about the military on Memorial Day! I’ve been thinking of my hubby all day who is deployed right now. It makes me feel good to know that others are thinking of him in general, I like to think your thoughts are keeping them safe so they will all come home!


Abby May 31, 2011 at 5:52 pm

That’s great to know, Kim. Thanks so much for adding your comment! Thinking of your family and wishing your husband comes home safe soon.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: