Giving Their Tomorrows For Our Todays

At seventeen he felt awkward standing next to his family at the Memorial Day parade. His younger siblings enjoyed it all, but he’d rather be hanging out with his friends. It was the same every year, his family getting together to honor Uncle John.

After the parade, there’d be a picnic in Grandma’s backyard. Uncle John had been killed long before he’d been born, so all the Memorial stuff didn’t matter to him. But it mattered to his grandma.

Sulking in Grandma’s living room, he didn’t feel like playing games in the backyard.

As he sat alone, he saw an old photo of his Uncle John. He picked up the picture gazing into the face of the young, uniformed soldier taken in some war torn jungle.

Grandma came in and saw him looking at John’s picture. “I’d like to show you something.” Grandma motioned for him to follow. They went into her bedroom where she pulled an old wallet from her dresser. She carefully laid out the contents of John’s wallet—sent home after he’d been killed.

He fingered John’s driver’s license—looking at the young face staring back. John was 20 when he’d been killed—not much older than he was now. He saw a family picture next to the maple tree in the back yard. That must have given him comfort when he’d been half a world away. Then he saw a picture of John with his arm around a smiling young girl. On the back were the words, “With all my love, Anna”.

Grandma said John planned on marrying Anna when he came home—but he never had the chance to get married, raise children, or enjoy a family gathering like the one now happening in the back yard. John went to war because he valued freedom and loved his country.

He watched Grandma wipe tears from her eyes. Each year she faithfully honored the fallen on Memorial Day because she’d lost someone she loved deeply and would never forget. 

He realized that he needed to do the same—for Uncle John and for all those who gave their tomorrows so he could have freedom today.

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