I can turn a bit sappy when it comes to anything patriotic.
One of my favorite play lists on my Google Play- is my Patriotic Music one. “From the mountains, to the prairies, to the the ocean white with foam” don’t you picture all the places across America this song is describing? And just the opening chords of “Proud to be an American” make my eyes get a bit teary!
Flags grace my home in pictures, coffee table tops, and decorating items. And you can spot some red, white and blue outfits in my closet capsule wardrobe.
I need a handful of kleenex when I come across any military homecoming video posted on fb too! Don’t you?
So today I want to share with you my favorite patriotic story. One that is like yesterday in my memory, but over 20 years away. When I was 18 years old, I fell in love with a Marine. (It is true what they say- there is something about a man in a uniform.) We started dating and filled up 5 months with phone calls, dinner, walks at the beach, talking and just seeing each other as often as we could. And on a cloudy May day, off the Navy docks in San Diego, CA., he left for 6 months on a West-Pac Tour.
We stood on a the docks. Holding hands, hugging, talking about nothing, kissing, committing to write and call. We watched the sights around us, heard the music, saw the anchors and the ships. We laughed, we cried and we promised our love to each other until his return.
The clocked ticked on and the inevitable came. It was time. He leaned forward and took me in his arms, saying, “Keep your eyes upward” then gently kissed me good bye. He waved and he walked away, stopped and turned back and waved again. One last wave once he got on ship. And I waited until I saw him on the top deck of the ship looking over at where I stood. More waves and blown kisses. The ship began to slowly move away from the dock and we watched each other until we couldn’t see each other anymore.
It was like being a part of history. Both past and future. Borrowing a few minutes of shared experiences with women of hundreds of generations who have been left with heavy hearts and tears in their eyes. Some have seen off their servicemen leaving in a time of war and others in a time of peace with hope that war won’t come again soon.
Some have seen their loves returned in a joyous homecoming, while others will only have those last kisses and hugs to remember him by. The defense of the “land that we love” is costly.
My Marine did return 6 months later and a month later proposed. Over the years of marriage the memories of a nostalgic goodbye has faded, yet there is still remembrance and celebration of both past and future.
We hope you have the most delightful 4th of July with your loved ones, service men and women or not. Take a few minutes and pray for those who are missing their loved ones who are serving!