When I was younger, Memorial Day was lost on me. Like many American’s I simply enjoyed my day off from work/school and celebrated the start of summer.
Now that I am a military wife and I am so completely immersed in the military life, Memorial Day is an emotional and powerful day for me.
As I’ve said before, my husband has a safe job as far as military jobs go. He is a helicopter mechanic, which means that even when he is deployed to a combat zone he stays on a secure base.
The luxury I have of not being filled with worry when he serves overseas is not one that all military spouses get to enjoy. I wanted to take today to share a story of one of those spouses, and her husband who was KIA in Afghanistan in 2010.
Jeremy deployed to Afghanistan for his first deployment in November of 2010.
During this time I decided to get more connected with the military community and meet fellow military spouses for support as we were going though our first deployment. I went to a few get togethers and BBQ’s, met a lot of young military spouses and added a ton of new wives on Facebook in hopes of sparking a friendship.
One of those spouses was Katie.
Her husband was infantry, and he deployed on his second tour around the same time that Jeremy did.
On December 1, 2010 he was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.
I didn’t know Katie very well, one quick meeting at a busy house party and a brief FB friendship, and I had never met her husband. However, his death impacted me in a very significant way.
For the first time I knew someone who had lost a loved on in war. Not Vietnam or WWII, but someone my own age, serving in a war being fought in my generation.
Having an Uncle or a Grandfather who served years ago, one that you remember in passing on Veteran’s Day or wear a Go Army shirt for on the 4th of July is a completely different experience then sending your spouse, child or parent off to a war with the knowledge that they might not come home.
I used to be that person. Although my husband is a Marine and was serving in Afghanistan, I hadn’t yet realized what that really means.
It means that not everyone has a homecoming. Not all the men who wear the same uniform that my husband does will get to come home to their family. It means that war is real. It’s more than just a flag you fly at half mast on Memorial Day. It’s widows who will never feel their husbands arms around them again. It’s children who will grow up without their fathers.
Today is the day that we remember those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their nation. Today is the day that I remember Chad and Katie.