I have always been aware of the true meaning of Memorial Day. Sure, it marks the beginning of the summer season, but also, so much more. Once I became a military spouse, and then my husband left for his first deployment, Memorial Day became even more.
As military spouses, most of us know someone whose spouse paid the ultimate price. Memorial Day to us doesn’t just remember those who have been lost from previous generations, but also from our own. Memorial Day means we mourn our friends, and loved ones, as we do each and every day since they have passed.
I remember back in 2009, I was in Vienna with a friend of mine and my boys. My husband was deployed to Iraq for the second time. I got a phone call, which hardly ever happened. I rarely used my cell phone back in those days.
But I answered and it was someone from the FRG. They were sharing that there had been a death, and when they said the name, my heart dropped. It was a friend of my husband, gone, just like that.
I broke into tears right then and there, so thankful that my friend was right there with me. It would be a while longer before I got to talk with my husband.
I have other stories, of hearing the news of friends losing their spouse. Even now, although it has been over 10 years, my heart still breaks remembering those deployments. My heart still breaks thinking about what they have been through.
So when Memorial Day comes back around as it does every year, I think of those families that were changed because of one day in Iraq or Afghanistan or anywhere else the military has to go. I think of everything they have lost, and what a sacrifice they have given. I think of these Gold Star spouses and families, and know we could never do enough to help them.
I hope they know how much their military loves them. I hope they know that we will always remember them. I hope they can feel peace and know that we will always remember their heroes.
As a military spouse, Memorial Day is different than it once was. I might still go to a BBQ and we love that the pool is open that weekend, but at the same time, the men and women we have lost are always at the front of our minds.
We will never forget their laugher and their friendship. We will never forget how kind they were to us, or how they always made us feel welcome. We will never brush the pain their loved ones might feel under the rug, and will always keep them in our hearts.