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Memorial Day: We Never Forget to Remember

We went to dinner at a restaurant chain known for giving a military discount. At the register my husband got out his ID.  Before we could mention it, the server said “We don’t give a military discount anymore.”

Has so much time passed since the flag waving, yellow ribboning days following September 11th?   Have too many people forgotten their pledge never to forget?

Sacrifices are still being made by our military members--and their families. A good friend of mine had her first baby the day before our son was born. The day after she brought her new baby home, her husband left on a year-long deployment.

She would be on her own with an infant, missing and worrying about her husband.

He had to walk away from a newborn who would learn to crawl, laugh, walk and talk without him there to see it.  He had to walk away from a wife that would have to face being a new parent all on her own.

I thought of her often during the moments I was feeling overwhelmed by my own new role as a parent.  When I was just tired from caring for a newborn, I almost felt guilty for having my husband at home to help as much as he was.

I don’t want to believe that people have forgotten.  I don’t want to know that sacrifices like these are being ignored or taken for granted. Or considered just part of the cost of our “lavish” lifestyle.

My grandfather fought in WWII in Europe. He didn’t talk to us much about the war but I remember something he said to me when I was around ten.

He told me that it bothered him that people in our country cared more about star athletes and other famous people than they did about the people that worked hard to make our country great.

I knew what he meant even then.  It’s sad that we as a country are still guilty now of this same thing. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of the military community, to honor deserving heroes, and in turn honor the words that he spoke to me that day.

Military members and military families may each tell their own unique story of the last ten years but all of these stories have one chapter in common, entitled, "Sacrifice."

They miss moments in life that no one should have to miss.  There are many that remember moments they wish they could forget. None of them should do so without a grateful public behind them-- but they will if they have to.

Make no mistake, the sacrifices families have made, the loved ones lost, the moments that had to be spent apart- they will all be remembered.

It doesn’t matter if other Americans forget or how much public support for the military dwindles; this family we belong to, our military family, serves to make certain that someone will always remember.

I hope that on Memorial Day at least, a public that not long ago said, “We will never forget” remembers saying it.

Kate Griffin is the creator of Eating in the Shower, a military family lifestyle blog. Kate has spent the last twenty years learning what makes military families the greatest families, from watching her Marine with pride at his boot camp graduation at Parris Island to every other ceremony along the way. 

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