We don't always talk about the meaning of them, but we always know. And we get together to enjoy family and the blessings that we have.
Both of my grandfathers were in the Air Force and it always amazes me at how it has shaped my family.
My mom was born in Japan and moved around the world every 3 years or so. She lived in Turkey, Nebraska, Maine, North Carolina, Georgia (the state, not the country), Germany, and Hawaii, to name a few.
My dad was born in North Carolina and has very strong family roots there. Sometimes his mom and him and his brother would travel with his dad, and sometimes they would stay with family in NC. My dad lived in places like The Phillipines, Germany, Arizona, and Hawaii.
That's where my parents met. Hawaii. They got married and promptly moved back to North Carolina. They haven't lived outside of the same zip code since then.
I've only lived with the glamorous side of the military. The "what happens after you serve in war and get home safely and retire" side of the military. The safer side of things.
My dad at an American Legion event.
I see my paternal grandfather make speeches on the courthouse lawn. Talk to the kids at my elementary school. Put out flags on veterans graves. Say the names of the veterans who have passed in the last year.
My dad's father- the one who I've seen be so involved in the American Legion.
I don't see my grandmother wringing her hands because he's away at war. I don't see her wondering if he'll get back home. I don't see him leaving for deployment.
I see my paternal grandfather wear a dark blue American Legion cap and be elected as the State Commander of the American Legion. I see people stand and clap for him. I see people wanting their picture taken with him.
I don't see war, fire, smoke. I don't see trenches. I don't see blood and mud smeared together.
I see soldiers folding a flag that had been draped over my maternal grandfathers casket. After folding it to perfection, they then presented it to my grandmother. Although this a sad moment, it was beautiful. It was beautiful that he was in the Air Force for years, and was then able to enjoy life with her afterward. That his funeral was not a result of war.
I'm thankful for our military. Today and in the past. No matter what job someone has served. I'm thankful. For all the people who are willing to do what I'm totally scared of.