|A Memorial Day Walk|
Photo By Rebekah Mozilo
As I sit here this morning, it strikes me that it is in this great country, where my family has a long history and commitment to freedom - dating back to the Mayflower and The American Revolution, that I have the opportunity to discover, rediscover, live out my passions and purpose, raise my children in faith of my choice, speak the words of my heart with freedom, and the freedom to work in a field of my choice and reap the benefits of my hard work.
On this day, I am so eternally grateful to those who lived and died in service, so that today, May 26, 2014, that my children and I would be able to live our lives in freedom. The post below, holds special meaning to me in that it is a shared experience with one of my daughters. It also holds special meaning in what each person gave to defend the rights and freedoms of all who call the USA home.
A Memorial Day Walk
Not long ago, I took my daughter to the Veterans Cemetery in our town. She is an avid and very talented photographer and was drawn to the emotion, the landscape, and the composition of the cemetery. As a tribute to those that served in the military and our country, she wanted to capture a respectful and beautiful image of what is often remembered as a dark and sad place.
The Cemetery is along a major road that we travel often so we catch a glimpse of it regularly. But when on days when there is a national celebration of Veterans and Service Persons, or on days when another is committed back to the earth after a life of service or a sacrifice in service, it is even more noticeable. On those days, the land is peppered with the colors that represent the freedoms we have in the United States. The usually brown and grey desert landscape is brightened by the Red White and Blue.
Service support groups lovingly and patiently place a flag at each headstone at the cemetery. I thought of that loving service that they provided as we walked through the rows of headstones on the day I took my daughter to capture the images. What a wonderful tribute and show of appreciation on the part of the organizations so dedicated to making sure our service members have the colors they served adorn their resting places.
But, as we we walked through the headstones and eventually parted directions, my focus shifted as I began reading the epitaphs.
I saw the awards, medals, and commendations by those that lay beneath. The dates etched in the stones so clearly defined the moments in history that they walked the earth, served their country, and fought for our freedoms. The realizations that some had long life and others only a brief walk on this earthly home sat on my heart as I could only try to feel the sacrifice that not only they, but their families gave so I had the freedom to live my life in the way that I wanted to. Whether they had a good and successful life outside of service or struggled upon coming back to the life that so many of us take for granted, each of them in their time was a hero.
My daughter and I met up again and gazed at the rows of seemingly unending flags surrounding us. We spoke in quiet respect about the gratitude an bravery of the men and women that we briefly came to know through the stories on their headstones. Somber words of what the service personnel and their families endured as they were separated for long periods of time, and for some through the loss of their loved one were choked back. We were both moved - me in internal emotion, her in creative emotion through her photographs. We both left the cemetery that day with our hearts full of thanks to every man and woman that has served in person or has served in supporting their loved one in service to others. We were both changed.
To every woman and man that has, is or will ever serve this great country, THANK YOU! And to every family that is home waiting for their loved one who is serving, THANK YOU! Each one of us that calls the U.S. home is indebted to you for giving of yourself and your loved ones, so that we have the choices and freedoms that allow us the opportunity to live a good and free life.