I didn’t fight for my freedom, but I am daily grateful to those who did!
Being a granddaughter of two Marines, I have come to understand that freedom, country, and loyalty all come with a price.
I avoided writing about Veterans Day many times because it was real, it hurt and I thought people wouldn’t understand. We all have a story, and I’m so grateful for the truth it unfolds.
I am fortunate for the gift of having all of my grandparents in my life up until two years ago when my grandpa went to rest with his creator. Powerful and …overwhelmed with hurt when he left us… but, this is where I learned an incredible lesson, “Honor wins when pain is present.”
Let me explain…
Despite many of the complications his body suffered he always stood strong and displayed his American and Marine Flag outside his room. He would not give up even when his body said no more. He went to a knee one day in the hallway of his community living and this is where reality began. He still was fighting the inevitable and would always stand strong with a will I admire. I would like to describe one of my first experiences with hospice at the Veteran’s Facility. Bless their hearts, all of veterans in this unit. When his time had come, I saw nothing but the power of valor and nobility in this soldier (my grandpa). Harvey E. Pierce – Marine, Devil Dog, Warrior, Dad, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, and Hero. A picture of him in his uniform when he was enlisted in the Marines hung outside his door. This man in his youth gave us freedom and he never spoke of what he had endured. As they took his fallen body away down a long hallway (they say time doesn’t stop when we lose someone; it did!), the man painting the hall, the medication nurse, visitors, other sick veterans, front desk personnel, orderlies, and the woman pushing the food cart… ALL stopped and stood in honor of this man. One of the nurses began to sing, they remained still in attention, and many saluted. This hallway remained still and respectful until the car transporting him pulled out off of the VA property. Honor overpowered sorrow in this instance. In awe of these people, the tears stopped for a moment and this overwhelming strength and respect they displayed overpowered the hurt.
My other grandfather Eugene Burns flew out to present the flag to my Mom, the volunteers of all branches of military showed up to play “taps” and a 21 gun salute rang out for their fellow fallen soldier. Age had no part in the honor displayed that day or if they knew him, but the unspoken code was, “fellow brother/solider you don’t have to do this alone, we are still present.”
What many would complain about, he endured with dignity. Grandpa, servicemen… thank you with all my might for what you have given us – freedom! Thank you for showing me how powerful honor can be
Please know that a person who is serving in the military is someone’s Mother, Father, sister, brother, daughter, son, and family member that is giving you the right for a freedom of voice. Let’s celebrate and honor all the American veterans for their patriotism, love of country and their willingness to sacrifice for the American people.