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veterans

Life happens. People fight battles every day and show their truest and most vulnerable selves. However, not everyone returns or as they left, and those are to whom Honor Flights offers comfort, praise, encouragement, and surrounds them, as well as their friends and family, with support.

While waiting in Reagan National Airport, in Washington DC, to fly to my own father-in-law’s funeral, I witnessed an amazing thing.  As flights came in and out of the gates and people streamed to their destinations, people around me began to stand.  They moved closer to the center of the waiting area.  They began to clap and the noise of applause swelled as older men and women moved between them.

It was not a celebrity, although I certainly wondered what was going on and drawing so much attention, but more and more people moved to the middle of the space and lined several deep.  A long line of veterans filed past.  Some walking on their own, some in wheelchairs, and most accompanied by a family member or guardian.  Each wore a t-shirt that said that “Veteran” and the war that they had fought in.  Most had been embattled in Vietnam, but there were some from the Korean War as well as a few from World War II.  Personnel from all levels of service were present, and as I watched, hundreds and hundreds of soldiers continued to stream from the gates bringing them to Washington D.C. to tour Arlington Cemetery and the many memorials and museums.

Honor Flight ( https://www.honorflight.org/ )is a non-profit that brings veterans to Washington to see the war memorials, honor the fallen, and find comfort with their comrades, their brothers and sisters-in-arms.   They flew almost 21,000 veterans to the Nation’s Capital in 2016 and fly out of 131 hubs in 45 states across the United States.  Their waiting list is 28,000 strong.

I was unaware of their mission or organization.  Yet, standing there, observing the emotional and physical energy of those around me, it occurred to me how many of these men came home from Vietnam broken and dishonored.  The country did not support the war as a whole and many who fought were not welcomed kindly.

What a look of disbelief on the faces of those people almost fifty years later!  Applause and smiles surrounded them, the clapping and cheering growing in pace and sound.  It was such a moving experience to be a part of and feel the surge of pride and grateful thanks to those whose service has changed our country in profound ways.

Perhaps the experiences are heightened in Washington D.C. of every political downturn and bitter partisan expression.  This was a unified group of citizens, undefined by any distinguishing factor, who rose in a wave of compassion and gratitude for so many unsung and unheralded.

This was a homecoming most never experienced and a privilege for those of us who did not live in those times of conflict and fear.  It was a precious opportunity to thank our veterans, and their families, whose sacrifice was so acute and whose lives were forever changed.  I stood there for more than 30 minutes observing this crowd arriving, moving through the airport, and accepting the love and gratitude they had to wait almost fifty years to receive.  It was a powerful moment for these veterans and for those of us who stood to honor them.  It was indeed a privilege to thank them for their service and wish them well on the next part of their journey home.

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Thank you so much for stopping by.  Your visit means so much to me.

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Thank you for stopping by.  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

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Thanks for stopping by!  I hope that you enjoy your visit.

amazing mother

A few weeks ago, I found myself lost in a time warp. Hours magically disappeared and I found myself wandering in the past…..

I took a trip to Target. For some, this is a weekly occurrence; for me, I have embraced online shopping for a long time, but decided to take a detour from my usual daily living.

While wandering the aisles, I looked at the arts and crafts supplies that I used to purchase in abundance. I saw the loot bags and treats to celebrate birthdays with young friends. Pretty clothing, funny tshirts, shorts, socks, small-sized sneakers… These used to be a few of my favorite things.

The shelves were crushed with fruit juice boxes and jumbo size bags of chips and snacks for packing 15 years of school lunches. I had lists of Column A and Column B choices for each child’s particular pickiness about fruits, sides, and main lunch options. Despite years of uneaten lunches and complaints, they all appear to have grown well and not a malnourished child in sight.

I am now so far away from being that parent to small children for whom I wanted to make things perfect. The attempts to find things to make them smile and be the prince or princess of their days seems long forgotten and dusty in their memories.

But, it was a reminder of where my life used to be, and transported me to another country, time, and place. Hours and years disappeared as I wandered those aisles.

I know that they cannot remember so many of the fine details that I labored over or the worries that entangled each decision for their well-being.

The life of a mother is long, as are the memories, and even when no one else can remember, we do. Our children are always in our hearts and on our minds; even the details of a life lived in the past remain with us always.

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Thank you for stopping by! I hope that you enjoy your visit.

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