Photos from the 2007 Military Times Service Members of the Year Awards. Photo by Lisa Nipp

Photos from the 2007 Military Times Service Members of the Year Awards. Photo by Lisa Nipp

On April 6, 2005 my country demanded a sacrifice from my husband and me, to give up on my plans and my husband’s health for a greater good. My country asked for the gift of my husband’s eyes, I gave with no choice.  

Honestly, there are still hard days where I am tempted to despair, but I’ve found there are a few things that lift my eyes to the heavens and remind me that I would do it all over again if given the choice.

  1. I try to remember that God is love and that I made a commitment on December 28, 2003, to love Scotty in good times and in bad, for better or for worse. I made a vow to LOVE, learning very quickly that love is not a feeling or emotion, but an action.
  2. I look around at the service and sacrifice of our friends and I’m humbled. I remember the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice and the women I know who now carry the burden. When I’m reminded of this, I rise and humbly ask the Lord to show me how I can do more.

Memorial Day is simple, it is honoring the less than 1% who secure our freedoms and safety, who put themselves between us and the enemy against all odds, and against public opinion in some cases. They don’t always agree with it, but they show up and do their jobs with the highest level of professionalism, working together to accomplish goals for the good of their nation. Families of these heroes are also sacrificing and serving a calling for something bigger, something higher than self.  After all the craziness and divisiveness of this past week’s election, I couldn’t help but remember how veteran’s even give us the right to protest; to burn the flag that they risk their lives to keep from hitting the ground, the flag that drapes their friends and families coffins after they die fighting for our freedoms. We have the freedom to say whatever we want about our leaders and burn the flag if we wish, and a veteran will still go out and stand between you and a bullet. Today let veterans be our examples to live by, let us honor, respect and try to show half the courage they do on a daily basis.

This service and sacrifice is not just a job for the 1%, use this Memorial Day thank the veterans that you know. Go rake their leaves, give them a discount, take them a meal, babysit their kids so they can go on a date night; because for hundreds of years they have served us, it is the least we could do.  To all my friends and family who serve and have served, you are my inspiration every single day.

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