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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thank You is Not Enough

We gathered yesterday in the 103 degree heat, and waited. Flags of all sizes in our hands, in the ground in front of us, did not wave in the breeze. There was no breeze. But they boldy proclaimed our love for America, for our freedom, and for a family who was facing the most difficult day we could imagine.

We searched the parking lot for a patch of shade, and waited. The only tree near us was surrounded by young and old. Cold water was something to be thankful for. We wished we'd remembered sunscreen. We chatted about our children, our loved ones, our connectedness with the armed forces, and soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

And we waited.

Traffic passed. People honked and waved. Truckers gave short blasts on their big horns, and the little ones waved back thier thanks. Occasionally a passerby stopped to ask what was happening. We were solemn, respectful in our response.

Soon, word came that it was time, and we left our shade, and lined the road. Flags in hand, we stood quietly, and stared into the distance. Still waiting.

In the distance, we saw two police officers on motorcycles followed by about 20 bikers, the Patriot Guard Riders. We stood silently, holding our flags as the hearse, and the family cars drove by. A beautiful young woman leaned out of a window and shouted a tearful "Thank you." Tears streamed down my face.

Next came the soldiers, more family and friends, waving their own flags, shedding their own tears, and saying thank you. More Patriot Guard Riders followed and finally, two more police officers signaled the end of the procession.

For us, the waiting was over. We'd been proud, grateful, to stand in honor of PFC Jaron Holliday, our brother, our son, our soldier. But as we got into our air-conditioned cars and drove away, I couldn't help but think of Jaron's mother, his father, his brothers and sister and friends. They would be waiting much longer than we - to hear his voice, to see his face, to hold him again.

But their waiting will end. This is a promise. There is hope.

Until then, thank you doesn't seem quite enough to offer, but it's all I have to give.

Thank you PFC Jaron Holliday, for giving your life for my freedom.

Thank you Kelly and John Holliday, for raising a son who would take up the cause of freedom, and for paying the ultimate cost -- that you did not choose to pay, but were willing to risk.

Thank you Holliday family. My thoughts linger on you today, and my prayers will follow you in the coming weeks.


Kari said...

Beautiful post. I can't even begin to know how to thank the men and women who are defending our freedom. I'm like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand whenever my son has to go over to the middle east. He's Air Force, so his tours are much, much shorter than those in the Army or Marines or Navy or National Guard. But the whole time he's gone, a part of my heart remains perfectly still...afraid to beat, afraid to feel, just waiting for word of when he'll be home. I ache for the parents, the wives, the husbands and the children of those who are deployed. The only comfort (for me anyway) is knowing that these are the people who truly appreciate and understand the cost of this freedom we wear like a second skin. The tribute you and others paid to PFC Jaron Holliday is felt by more than those who knew him. Thank you.

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

Oh my, I have goose bumps all over from the sentiments in this post. God Bless our loved ones fighting for our feedom.
I 've done a post for my nephew , a marine, who's been to Iraq for 2 tours. He suffers from PTS....everyday is difficult. Please visit my blog and see his picture & read about him.

Thank you for entering the giveaway

justabeachkat said...

What a beautifully written post.


Mrs. Pivec said...

I just love this post, TaunaLen. I don't know anyone intimately who is involved in the war and because of that, the reality of it for me is so far away. Thank you for reminding me again that it is larger-than-life for so many of our dear, dear families in this country.

I love the new photography you've added to your blog. The pictures you took of your son are amazing! Such nice work! :)

I have an award for you at my blog. Stop by and pick it up when you get a chance! :)

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