It is Memorial Day and the sun is peeking through the tinted windows of a basic restaurant at lunch time. The waiter comes to the table to take drink orders. Everyone orders their favorite beverage and one orders an extra beer to be placed at the bar for his fallen military buddy as a way to remember his sacrifice. The day progresses to closing time and the drinks on the bar have multiplied, all representing the men and women who would not make it home alive and whose families now celebrate Memorial Day in a completely different way.

This Memorial Day weekend, I’m so thankful.

I’m thankful that I don’t have to be the waiter to pour out those drinks at the end of the day because of what and who those drinks stand for.

I’m thankful I don’t have to dump sand out of combat boots after being on duty all day wondering what tomorrow will bring or if my spouse finally got my letter.

I’m thankful I don’t have to endure uncertainty day after day pondering if my spouse really is in a safe area or not while at war.

I’m thankful I don’t have to put on the uniform and ride with a chaplain to a house and make that dreaded knock on the front door.

I’m thankful I haven’t had to answer the door and have uniformed men standing there to tell me my worst nightmare will now be my reality.

I’m thankful for every casket that bears the Stars and Stripes, whether they are young or old.

It is a privilege to live in this country and I was given that because of men and women who gave it all. There aren’t enough ceremonies or bell rings to give back to hurting families what they have loss. What we can do is show our appreciation in some way, not just this weekend, but throughout the year. Don’t thank active and retired service members on Memorial Day, honor their brothers and sisters who spilled their blood on a foreign land for you to live in peace and comfort. Over this weekend, I will happily take time from my day to reflect and remember the fallen Americans who wore the uniform that protects us all.

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Kara Stevens

Kara Stevens is the wife to a wonderful Marine and mommy to beautiful little boys in Central Nebraska. Besides her growing family, her loves include the outdoors, cooking, writing, and spending time in prayer!