On this weekend which generally represents the precipice of summer I sit here on my porch pondering. All of the little everyday pleasures I enjoy, and often take for granted, are borne on the backs of men and women spanning our history. These walls were erected only a short time after our Civil War. I imagine through the time spanning just shy of 150 years these bricks have observed gains and losses worthy of the red, white, and blue banner that still flies outside today.
This day also marks my parents anniversary. I’ve had the privilege of being raised by two people who have loved each other throughout my whole lifetime. They are together today having withstood hardships of everyday life which can take a toll on any couple. Before they met my dad served this country in Vietnam-during a time when we stabbed our own in the back showing them little thanks or respect for the atrocities they’d faced. They returned scarred only to be further beaten by reproach. My dad is quiet on the subject, but I know it effected him along with so many others. He was able to continue on after his unwelcome arrival home and live a “normal” life. The same cannot be said for all in his position during that era.
Its these scars of war, the living losses, I think about most this weekend. I honor the dead, but also the living, who live their lives with buried pasts. I drink my coffee on the front porch without loss of limb, peace of mind, or flashbacks. These men and women who give all of themselves for a span of time by becoming the property of Uncle Sam and then at the end must figure out how to be normal again- how to hold down a civilian lifestyle- as if that chapter were behind them. But it never really is because it is now who they are. Because of them we are who we can be.
For the service man/woman who have returned to build a life, a home, thank you. And thank you to those who are too scarred to do so. I’m sorry. My debt to you is great as you’ve given your peace for mine. To those whom have never come home: tearful gratitude to your families. May our future generations continue to mark your passing. May they remember how our homes here in the US came to be and that as the saying goes “Freedom isn’t Free.”