And I’ll admit (rather shamefully) that most years this day comes and
goes without my giving its significance a single thought. I appreciate it as a
weekend lengthener, another morning to sleep in, an extra twenty-four hours to
get things done. But rarely do I acknowledge the many men and women who are
responsible for giving me the freedom to do those things.
So today, rather than rushing unconsciously into my to-do list, I am
taking a moment to pause and reflect on those to whom I owe an unrepayable debt
To the dedicated service men and women who
willingly braved front lines, paying a hefty price in defense of our many
liberties and blessings, I thank you.
To those who lost their lives in battles they
didn’t initiate and wars they didn’t choose to fight, I thank you.
To those in noncombat roles—the medics and
mechanics and numerous others—who died while working in support of the combat
troops, I thank you.
To those left behind: The spouses, children,
parents, siblings, friends, and other family members who had to go on even when
their loved ones didn’t return home, I thank you.
To the soldiers who made it home, but were so unequipped
to overcome their wounded souls and PTSD-tortured minds that they stopped the
pain by their own hands, I thank you.
Let us all stop for just a minute this morning to say a little prayer
or offer up a moment of silence in respect to these and any and all others who
gave the ultimate sacrifice in service of the United States of America. Let us
always be grateful. Let us always remember.
If you like, please feel free to share in the comments the names of
those whose lives you are celebrating today, so we, too, can honor them.
I sat in a waiting room a couple weeks ago, doing what one does in such
a place: waiting. The only other person in the room—a man who I’d seen in
passing on my way in—was blocked from my view by the angle of the wall as he
spoke with the receptionist and another woman behind the counter. I perused the
table of available reading material, only vaguely aware of their conversation
until I was fully alerted to it when the man suddenly broke into song.
I don’t mean that figuratively (if there is even a figurative way to
take it). I mean he literally began singing. And this wasn’t just a hush-hush,
passive-voiced, let-me-sing-a-few-words-to-jog-your-memory kind of song. He
belted it out in a rich baritone as if a Broadway stage had popped up beneath
his feet, a microphone thrust into his hand, a follow spot bathing him in a
beam of light.
His performance has stayed with me since that day, playing on repeat in
my mind with an accompanying sense of wonder. Truthfully, it wasn’t the man’s
powerful vocals that made an impression on me. Nor was it the song itself. (I
didn’t recognize the tune and the lyrics vanished from memory almost
immediately.) No, what struck me most was that this man had an impulsive urge
to sing and rather than tamp it down out of embarrassment, he followed it with
As a forever fan of musicals—Mary Poppins, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and Grease being some of my childhood favorites—I’ve often wondered what it might be like if real life followed the example of these music-inspired stories. How freeing it would be if anytime we were overcome with a strong emotion—be it joy, grief, amazement, frustration—we felt as confident as this man did to express it boldly and unapologetically in song.
If your life were a musical, what lyrics would fit your day? What song would you bust out singing right now, right in this moment?