Sunday, May 27, 2012

May we never forget...

that freedom isn't free...

Last night
I packed up my lawn chair, flashlight and bug spray
(and thankfully a light jacket)
and headed over to
Franklin Square Park
to hear Brunswick Little Theatre's
The Spirit of America in Song.
There were twinkling lights in the trees,
people on picnic blankets and eating ice cream
laughing and singing along
despite several very brief spritz's of rain...
there was even a rainbow!
The fresh air, the sound of the crickets,
the bandstand and flags and...

They had BLT members,
Sea Notes (a local choral group)
and  of course a band.
There was lots of music
a slide presentation and narration
and an all-in-all TOP NOTCH performance.
It was quite moving.
The music spanned popular songs from the
Revolutionary War, Civil War,
WWI and II
and Post WWII.

Songs like Yankee Doodle/Dixie
When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again
Goober Peas
It's a Long Way to Tipperary
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
This is the Army Mr. Jones
Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition
Blowing in the Wind
Letters from Home
Ballad of the Green Berets
American Pie
and this song that,
I have to confess---
I don't recall hearing until last night.

While there was a wide variety of ages represented
from those who were more familiar than I
of ration stamps and air raids and black out curtains...
to babes in arms,
and plenty of singing along on any given song---
it was this one that brought a hush to the audience
and a tear to every one old enough to know
that 9-11 changed our nation...

There was a definite shift after this song
a silence and hush filled that park
and I dare say not many dry eyes,
some sobbing openly.

So many
take Memorial Day for granted...
it's just another 4-day week-end
a time for sales and discounts and parties.
I do pray
that the TRUE meaning of the day
will sink in...that people will take time
to stop and thank those who served-
to offer a kind word to a widow(er) and children
left behind
to stop and say a prayer
for those who fell and sacrificed for our freedom-
and their families as well
for they, too, have sacrificed much
in the name of our nation and freedom.

I am posting this early...
but tomorrow
I will be sure to take a minute at least
and text my stepson
and thank him for serving.
I remember the first time I met him
"Ma'am! Nice to meet you, Ma'am!"
He was rushing back to base.
I remember him being deployed
and praying for his safe return.
I remember the day my husband was awakened from his nap
with a strong hand on his shoulder
and Tommy standing there.
He had, indeed, returned safely.
We were blessed.

I have two honorary nephews who
have attended/attend The Citadel.
One is serving in the Navy
one will go into the Marines.
Two sons, two brothers.
One family serving their nation.

Above my desk is a photograph
of a man in a Green Beret.
His name is Sgt. Major Jack Jennings.
I was proud to know him
and he was one of the few
that got away with calling me "babe"!
(Sgt. Mjr. had a little do with it-I was outranked! Lol!)
He was  good friend. A great man.
He served many, many tours of duty
and sadly lost his battle with lung cancer
just a few short years ago.

The father of my dear friend, Theresa,
served in the Marines as my stepson did.
I will be sure to ask her
to pass on my thanks to him as well.

I am old enough to remember
my grandfather talking about his service in the Army...

I am old enough to remember
the draft for the Viet Nam War
and stars in many many windows-
some with more than one...

I remember the first go-round with Iran...
And yes, I remember
where I was on 9-11.
I was working in a law office
in downtown Southport
not far from this little park I sat in last night.
A secretary came downstairs crying and hysterical
trying to tell us about planes and trade towers and
terrorism...on US soil.
I walked out of our building and started down the street
just as someone came out of the bank on the corner
and lowered the flag
to half-mast.
My heart and my stomach met
and I barely kept from falling to the ground myself.

I remember prayer vigils
and our local church
calling all trained Stephen Ministers and Leaders
(which I am)
to come and pray with those
who had lost loved ones on that day
or who were troubled by these events...
there was quite a crowd...

I know people personally who lost friends that day
I know people who had family that narrowly escaped
and what haunted me was
that my late husband
had worked as an electrician
on the twin towers
and they were gone...

And yes, while it was an awesome performance
and a fun time in the park last night
those that came
went home changed.
We all sang
Let There Be Peace on Earth
before we left...

I think I will go back and listen
again tonight.

Please---don't forget
what Memorial Day is really all about.

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