Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Thoughts

I've been thinking about Memorial Day and its meaning, and it brought to mind a trip to Georgia a few years back. I'd been in Atlanta for a week attending the gift market and was ready to get home. But, severe thunderstorms in the area had caused many flight cancellations and delays. When I checked in I was disappointed to discover that my flight had been cancelled and I'd been switched to another flight not scheduled to depart until many hours later.

Frustrated, I made the long walk to a different gate that was a good 15 gates from where my original flight was to board. When I arrived at the gate, I became exhausted at the mere sight of all the people jammed in like sheep. All the seats were full, many people were sitting on the floor, leaning against the walls, sitting on railings, crying babies, you get the picture. But, amidst the entire chaos one thing jumped out......there were dozens and dozens of Servicemen dressed in their fatigues. I later discovered that they were returning from Iraq and headed to Ft. Hood. My heart was so full to see so many passengers go out of their way to visit with the Servicemen and extend gratitude for their dedication to our country.

I pulled up my pilot case to use it as a make-shift seat and a short while later began chatting with one of the Servicemen about his family. As we were talking, a little boy that couldn't have been any older than 5 or 6, approached a Servicemen that was sitting across from us.  The little boy asked, "So, do you have to do a lot of push-ups?" He said, "Well, we sure do". The little boy replied, "I know how to do push-ups". The Serviceman said with a grin, "Well, let’s see ‘em." This made the little boy very happy and he quickly dropped to the floor to show off his little boy push-ups. Then he rolled on one side, looked up and said, "Now you do some." The Serviceman looked over at his buddies and smiled and he dropped down face-to-face with the little boy and counted off 10 push-ups. As he counted off the number 10, he smiled back at the little boy and said, "Your turn again."
The two of them went back and forth for a few "push-up rounds" while the rest of us looked on. My words may not convey it, but it was a sweet moment that I will never forget. As I looked around, I made misty eye contact and exchanged smiles with several other passengers that were equally as touched. My delayed flight had become the best part of my trip.

Later, when we boarded the plane I was blessed to sit next to one of the many Servicemen aboard the flight. He was returning home from a second tour of duty in Iraq for a 14 day leave, and was eager to tell me about his wife and children that he hadn't seen for over a year. As I listened to him, I thought about how much I missed my family after only a week and it deepened my sense of the sacrifices these men and women make for all of us. I felt guilty about how much I take for granted.
Shortly after the plane took off, the pilot made an announcement to recognize the Military men and women on board and to thank them for their commitment. He asked God to bless them and everyone applauded was very sweet. My hats off to that American Airline's pilot for taking time to extend that sweet gesture.

Our family is honored to have many previous and present Servicemen and women. May each of us spend some time remembering the sacrifices that our Military personnel make for us every single day, and honor those that have given their lives for our country. May God bless them all and keep them safe.

Wishing you have a safe and happy holiday weekend.


Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Wonderful story. I would have been a ball of tears! I get a lump in my throat when I see anything should see me at a parade!!

Prior said...

Loved your story~have similar memories, living on Air Force Bases for 20 years with my Airman. Lezlee

Susie~From My Home To Yours said...

What a perfect story to share to commemorate Memorial Day, and what a great memory!

slommler said...

Beautiful story...we are all so blessed that so many have given up so much on our behalf. A simple thank you just doesn't seem enough. And I am so glad that many take the time to honor the men and women who serve and those who have given their lives for our freedom.

Michelle@Fromhousetohome said...

You have me all teared up. That is a great story. I often feel as though our service men and women are not given enough credit for what they do. Stories like this just make me feel so good!
Happy Memorial Day!

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Such a touching story! I've seen our military men and women in airports and always make a point of going up to them and thanking them for their service. I would have loved to have seen the serviceman and little boy exchanging push-ups. That certainly was heartwarming to read.
Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

What a sweet story on this Veteran's Day weekend. Thanks for sharing! Hope you have a great weekend. Love & blessings from NC!

Debby said...

I am wiping tears.....great story. As a Mom of a soldier that spent two tours of duty (2 years) in the Middle East......need I say more.
Thanks to all who serve and their families.

Theresa @ 612Riverside said...

What a sweet post, you have me all teary eyed. We cannot thank them enough. Thank you for sharing, Theresa

Virginia said...

As a Navy Mom and the widow of a Marine, I know that our servicemen and women don't get enough recognition. Memorial Day is a spcial day to remember those who have fallen to protect our freedoms. Thank you for posting this wonderfully sweet story.

Julie said...

Bless you for sharing such a warm and teary story. My son is a Marine serving right now in Afghanistan...I am thankful for those that really do celebrate and remember the meaning of Memorial day as more than a day off work and grilling and swimming as summer kicks off. I wish I could ship a swimming pool over to those guys right about now...One just told him mom that it was so hot over there, your face felt like it could melt right off.
God bless and have a great holiday. Love to visit here.
Hugs Laurie!....


LaurieAnna - this is such a touching story and really brings to heart the sacrifices that our servicemen and servicewomen make for our country and the fact that we should always be mindful of that and grateful. ~ Angela

Anonymous said...

What a touching story. It brought tears to my eyes and gave me chills. It's so true how easy it is to take what we have for granted and to lose sight of how many service people have sacrificed so much for our country. I want to join you in thanking all of them. :) ~ Jo

Daphne Nicole & Lynda Cade said...

Laurie, what a beautiful post, thanks so much for sharing your story! Blessings~~~Daphne

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

This is a touching story. For many years I flew constantly for my previous job. I would fly out of Pensacola where there are three military bases in the surrounding areas. I can't tell you how many young people I met that were on their way to Iraq. I think about them quite often and hope they are well.

Dee@FrenchBleuVintage said...

What a great memory ~ thanks for the reminder. We really just cannot do enough for them. I could NEVER do what they do - never. I do not know where the courage and selflessness comes from. Thank you ~

Pamela said...

Beautiful story LaurieAnna!

Lest we forget!
Happy Memorial Day!
Pamela xo

Claudia said...

A wonderful post, Laurie Anna. Thank you.,

Elsie said...

What a wonderful story LaurieAnna.
That is a perfect story for this
holiday. That is a great memory.

Gabby said...

Randomly ran across your blog to this entry: Loved It! Such a precious memory (I sure hope the little boy's mom/dad will remember this and tell it to him sometime.)

Debbie said...

I had a lump in my throat reading this. What a wonderful story.

We have a soldier in our family now and know that in short time, he will be one of the ones heading to soils unknown. It makes Memorial Day, always a special day to us, even more meaningful.

God bless and keep our soldiers, God bless and comfort those who mourn for a loved one this day.

C. Dianne Zweig said...

Great story..thanks for sharing,


Kitsch n Stuff

Sherry Goodloe said...

What a wonderful story you have shared with all of us here today! Like some of the others that have commented before me, I a sitting here with my tear-filled eyes.

Have a wonderful day today Laurie Anna.

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~ Maya Angelou

Meng Leenen said...

I used to live in Atlanta, and I used to see this very often. However, I feel sad that the frequency has decreased quite a bit even though the situation in Iraq is not settled. It is sad, but this is a hopeful story.

Anonymous said...

Laurie Anna, I read this twice...what a great story. I had to read it the second time to my husband (which is also a Vet). We both loved it..Thanks so much for the wonderful story and taking the time to write it as I know how busy you are...See you at Canton...Vera