Nick and I were in DC, walking around the monuments and memorials on the mall, talking about how heavily it settles on my heart to see names. Names put faces to wars and stories I read about in history books. At the World War II memorial, there is a section carved in stone that says "here we mark the price of freedom". I cry every time I look at that and determine to remember more often....remember those that fought, remember those that were left behind. I never want to forget the stories my grandpa's tell me. I never want to forget their reality of those stories.
As we walked around the WWII memorial, I saw this gentleman sitting with his wife and daughter, dressed in his military clothes, and heard him talking in a soft voice about his experiences. His voice was old, and he sat leaning over on his cane for support. I stood a little ways away and just started at this man that came to recount his memories, and couldn't help the tears that started. It was an incredibly touching moment and I don't ever want to forget seeing him sitting there, lost in his memories.
Thank you doesn't say enough. It doesn't say enough to express the gratitude I sometimes forget to have. It doesn't say enough to make up for the years of separation that families go through, or the pain of lost love and lost lives. I never want to forget this moment.
I asked him if I could take his photograph, and his daughter stood up, looked at me, and thanked me, telling me that I had no idea what that would mean to him. I wanted to honor him, to thank him, and to mark his life. I have never felt so humbled.
Thank you to everyone that has given up everything for service of our country. Your sacrifice is remembered and you are honored.