I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, “Mother, what was war?”
“So Katie,” I said. “Do you know what tomorrow is?”
“Umm. Hmm. Oy yeah, it’s Veteran’s Day!”
“Yes, baby. Do you know what that means?”
“It means no school! Hooray!”
“Well, yes, little love. It does. But it’s far more than that. Do you now WHY there’s no school on Veteran’s Day?”
She scrunched her little nose – that signature Mama move, now so much more hers than mine.
“Baby, Veteran’s Day is a day to honor those who have fought for our country. A day to stop and say thank you to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to protect us and to keep us safe.”
“Oh yeah! Like Uncle Paul. I told my friends at school that I know a soldier in Afghanistan, Mama. I told them he was like family because he’s one of my mom and dad’s best friends.”
“That’s right, love. And don’t forget Rhema and Hope’s Daddy. He’s over there too.”
Her face got very serious. “That’s right, Mama. He’s there too. In Iraq.”
To those of you still fighting, our hearts and our prayers are with you. Be safe. Come home soon. Know that our love stretches across the seas and over the mountains and through the desert sands to reach you.
To your families we say, ‘You are not alone. If you don’t tell us what you need we’ll figure it out for ourselves and show up on your doorstep. We simply refuse to let you go this alone.”
To those who have lost everything – There are no words to honor your sacrifice. All we can share is our overwhelming sorrow and gratitude.
To the wounded – to men and women like Jeremy, whose biggest fight may be the one that comes after the war – know that we will never be able to repay you, but we will try.
“Mama,” Katie said later. “I’m sad for the soldiers. I wish they could come home.”
Me too, my little love. Me too.