I guess you could say I am patriotic. I'm not sure when that happened. Growing up, I had 2 brothers serve in the Army. One of my favorite pictures of myself as a child was of me sitting on my brother Rick's "rack" wearing his "cover". My dad was a veteran and served in the Army as a paratrooper. And of course I married a U.S. Marine. I have friends who served in the Navy, or are serving now. And the source of Zachary's name is John's grandfather, the WW2 veteran of the U.S Air Force. I guess you could say military service has touched my life.
I think what brought it all home was a few years ago. John had been out of the Marine Corps for 7 years when he decided he wanted to go back in. He worked like a dog to lose all of the weight he had gained as a civilian. He went through the steps needed to reenlist, even getting as far as MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) for his reenlistment physical. A small patch of scar tissue from psoriasis stopped him. He could have gotten it waived. He had it when he served the first time. But he just never did. I think the extra paperwork, after working so hard to get into the shape he was at 18 and fresh out of boot camp, was just too frustrating for him.
Regardless of whether he did reenlist or not, I spent the better part of a year preparing myself. He planned to actually request to go to Iraq. And for that time, I had nightmares of losing him, of being handed that folded flag. He would sleep at night and I would stay awake, secretly watching videos of service men leaving for deployment,or of military funerals, and I would cry until the world was just a blur. I never did it in front of him though. He had given me every opportunity to follow my dreams, and I didn't want my weakness to stop him from doing what he wanted. I knew he would stop the whole process if he saw th true effect it was having on me.
He obviously didn't go back in. I was saved from the nightmares. But that entire experience did something to me. I now have a deeper appreciation for our veterans and their families. This is their holiday. A day to remember and honor the fallen, who lost their lives to defend our way of life here in the U.S. Regardless of whether you believe in war or the reasons behind any conflict in which our country has been involved, you cannot deny the selflessness of these men and women, and the families behind them. It is for this reason that we all get an extra day added to our weekend.