Friday, March 2, 2012

Honoring the Men and Women in Uniform Before They Leave Us

 Last weekend my best friend who goes to school in P.A. texted me and told me she was coming home that weekend. At first I was delighted about this unexpected visit, assuming she would of course make time to play with me at some point, but my little bubble of happiness was popped when she told me the reason; her grandfather who had been struggling with multiple health issues for years and had been in the hospital for the last several months had passed away, and she was coming home for the funeral.
  I went to the funeral because, though I hardly knew her grandfather, her family fondly refers to me as their adopted daughter/sister and I wanted to be there for them. My friend came up to me as soon as the service was over and asked me to spend the night with her, the following morning was the burial and it was also her birthday, so I agreed to stay over. After that every chance they got, my friend or her sisters would come up to me and give me a hug, sometimes holding on for several minutes, I wished so hard that there was a way to take away their pain, but all I could do was hug tight and wait it out.
  We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking about one thing and then another until we were so emotionally and physically exhausted that our eyes finally shut. We realized when we glanced in the mirror the next morning that staying up until 2:30 am is not the best idea if you have to be out the door by 9:15 the following day, but it was nothing that a cup of tea and a dab of make-up couldn’t help with. J
  The burial service took place at a beautiful memorial cemetery for veterans. I’ve been there before because my own Grandfather has a memorial stone there, and it is one of the most incredible places. To see row after row of headstones honoring the men and women who defended our country is completely indescribable. The service was beautiful. There were two young men from the navy (My friends grandfather was in the navy when he was younger) who took the flag off the coffin, folded it and presented it to my friends grandmother. There were three shots fired by older veterans and then another played taps on his bugle, the shells from the shots were also presented to the grandmother and all the service men saluted as the casket was rolled away. It was one of the most unforgettable things I have ever experienced. It reminded me how much we should honor the men and women who serve our country before they leave us. I wanted so badly after that to search for my grandfather’s memorial site, but its was frigid out, so we all piled back into the cars and headed home.
  When we all got settled back at the house, I was told I had to get everyone in a happy mood so we could celebrate my friends birthday now. After a while, everyone was in the party mood and we had a lovely time eating food, playing games, eating cake, opening gifts, and eating more food (sensing the theme?) with friends and family. I didn’t even get back to my house until around 11pm that night…and that when I realized I had two tests the next day in school that I hadn’t gotten a chance to study for. Ah, well, gotta love cram sessions!

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