As a little girl I would hug my daddy when he would return from weekend training.
I remember the smell of his uniform so vividly that years later when I was given a military issued sleeping bag on a camping trip I knew that smell was just like daddy.
The day daddy came home and unpacked his things and gifted each of us with something special from his trip to Italy. I recall the stories of his long flight on a military plane without the comfort of cushioned seats and meal service.
I remember the day my husband came home on a plane after basic training. The way he hugged me and kissed me as if it had been a lifetime ago that he left.
I remember when the phone rang and someone asked if my husband was OK and I stood standing wondering why they asked. A car wreck while traveling during his full time recruitment job with the National Guard.
Thumbing through pictures and reading sweet love notes that my grandfather penned to my grandmother while serving during war time.
The greatest smile ever seen on my husband’s grandfathers face when he received his high-school diploma well into old age. A privilege he gave up to serve as a teenager.
I remember the mothers, wives, children and other loved ones who cling to the hope that their solider will return.
I remember the sight of the first building hit on 9-11 and then seeing the second plane collide. With tears, I remember watching the people run from the buildings, ashes covering their shell-shocked faces.
I remember that I live in America and my freedom is at a high cost.
What do you remember?
As I remember, I give thanks. I give thanks to those I know and love, yes. But I also give thanks to every man and women who has served and is serving in our armed forces. No matter the branch, no matter the capacity. I say, thank you.