I am so excited to be a guest blogger today! And what better day than my F.A.V.O.R.I.T.E. holiday?
Why is today my favorite holiday you might be asking? Aside from it being summer, the BBQs being fired up, the fireworks display after dark, and the lemonade… Today marks the 238th anniversary of our great country’s Independence. At heart I am proud to be an American.
My journey to this place in my heart began in 2001. I graduated high school in Washington and moved off to college in Virginia. Little did I know that at that TINY little university nestled in the Shenandoah Valley I would be moved to such patriotism. September 11, 2001 is a day that many will never forget. It was the day America was changed. America was violated. That day also happened to be the day I had been asked for a date. A date that would change my life. I was asked out by a cadet from VMI, Matthew. When the attacks in New York and Washington DC happened I didn’t know if this date would happen. But it did. And it was the start of a beautiful relationship. While courting, I learned that Matthew would commission into the Army once he graduated. That meant that his life would be a constant of moves, deployments, and service. I was ready to sign up. We fell in love. We got engaged. We planned a wedding. We got married. He commissioned (as did I, we all know that it how it really worked). We found out I was expecting a baby the next summer. We packed up our small apartment and moved west to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Little did we know what was around the corner for our new family. We spent over 5 years in Oklahoma. In those 5 years there was a deployment that lasted 15 months just after our second child was born. During the deployment Esquire visited the team Matthew was deployed with. You can read about it here. After Matthew’s return home and a military course later we were stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. This is close to HOME for me. We thought it would be good in case there was another deployment.
What I have learned being a military wife has brought me to my knees in gratitude. Matthew wanted to serve in the military because he wanted to make it safe for his children to play in their own backyard. Matthew wanted to protect those that couldn't protect themselves. Matthew wanted to make a difference. This is what all of our men and women and uniform do. Even writing this I have chills.
I have been with women who have had to deliver their baby without their husband because he was far away heeding his country’s call to serve. I have been with families while they grieve the loss of their soldier. I have seen the flags waving bravely in the breeze as a funeral procession drives down the road. I have had the touching reminders of the greater good around us because of the military.
While I am no longer an Army Wife, I still have the most tender of feelings for this country. Hearing the National Anthem makes my eyes well with tears and my heart swell. I am so proud to be an American.
This is my little guy looking up to his dad as the Army Band plays the National Anthem. (I am even teary again!)
A few weeks ago I took my kids to the local outdoor amphitheater to watch the Utah Symphony perform. While we sat on our blanket in the grass my son laid back and started directing the music. And I thought about how incredibly lucky we are to be able to enjoy this. And my heart became a little sad at all of the children all over the world who don’t have this luxury that we do. As the maestro began to engage with the crowd I wasn't paying much attention since I was so involved with my thoughts. And then I heard him talking about why they do these types of concerts in the summer. It was to pay tribute to our beautiful country. He then said that they will be playing the songs of all the branches of the military. He asked those that had served, were serving, had loved ones serving in the branch of each song to please stand. When the Army Song came on, I had my kids stand. And much to my pride they both began singing the words to the Army Song. They beamed with pride as they sang this song for their dad serving our country in Pakistan.
The Army Goes Rolling Along
Intro: March along, sing our song, with the Army of the free
Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to victory
We’re the Army and proud of our name
We’re the Army and proudly proclaim
Verse: First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle’s won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.
Refrain: Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong (TWO! THREE!)
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.
Verse: Valley Forge, Custer’s ranks,
San Juan Hill and Patton’s tanks,
And the Army went rolling along
Minute men, from the start,
Always fighting from the heart,
And the Army keeps rolling along.
Verse: Men in rags, men who froze,
Still that Army met its foes,
And the Army went rolling along.
Faith in God, then we’re right,
And we’ll fight with all our might,
As the Army keeps rolling along.