When my children were younger I taught them to share. I never thought that I would in my adult life have to learn that lesson again. My son Micheal does not belong to just me anymore. He belongs to this Nation. His life was given as a gift so they could continue to be free and live without fear. More and more I find his name on memorials and websites. For the most part they are tributes. Some are using this gift to further their causes or to make a statement against everything my son stood for and valued in life. There is nothing I can do about that.
Today another piece of my son was given. This time to the community I live it. I received a call from a friend telling me the man was there to add my son’s name to the monument on Main st. He is the first soldier from this town to be lost in war since Vietnam. The 4th from the county. I watched as the man sandblasted my son’s name onto the wall. And I could only say.. I don’t want it to be there. But it is there and I know that he will be remembered.
Sometimes it is very hard to share the memories of my son. But I do it. Not with everyone because there are those who use it to hurt me. When I do share him I hope that he will stop being just a name on a list and become a real person to those who listen. And through him the others who have given their lives for this Nation will also be seen as the real men and women they were.
He is my son but he is also the son of this Nation. It is something I am slowly learning to not only accept but appreciate. I have to share him because he made a choice to share himself with this Nation. Even is he had come home, a part of his life was given to the people of this country. He took a big responsibility on when he made that choice. He knew the risks. He also knew the value of that choice. I hope some day more people understand that gift and it’s value. A gift given by so many who wear our Nation’s uniforms.