On September 13, 1971, I left mom's house (home), at the tender age of 17... and joined the Air Force. I wasn't to truly understand how that made my mother feel until my baby boy, Michael, left my home on May 27, 2004 to join the Navy. That felt very strange; painful at first, until I adjusted to it. And although my middle child, Kelvin, Jr, joined the Army and left in January 2002 (just 3 months after 9-11), his mother and I were divorced and he didn't live with me, so I didn't get the full effect of how it felt to have your child leave you "for the military" until I faced it first hand with Michael.
In my family, my father served, 2 of his brothers served, and one
retired. I've one cousin who served (and retired), I served and
retired. My two sons served -- baby boy for 7 years and Kelvin Jr is
serving his 11th year. We are fortunate and have not lost any of our
family members in combat, but we're all touched by someone who did.
Memorial Day honors the men and women of the armed forces who
lost their lives defending our freedom: our freedom to be, our freedom
to do, our freedom to say. Over the years, some of the freedoms that
have been exercised, have even spoken harshly of the military which
ensured that freedom, yet the men and women of the military defended those freedoms... just the same.
As we celebrate Memorial Day today, I encourage you to think of
how different life might be had those men and women not given their
lives, had those battles not been fought and won. Look around the globe
at the conditions in the countries that we have opposed and that have
opposed us. Now imagine living in those systems...and if you
can't summons up some appreciation for the folks who fought against
those systems.. then, there's a bigger problem at hand.
The phrase has become cliche, but the fact is the fact: Freedom is NOT free, and I salute and honor the souls of those who paid the fee.
Have an awesome day.