Honor Our Fallen Heroes, Our Military, and Their Families

small red cross on sandy beach with worn military helmet propped against itMemorial Day is the time we’ve set aside to honor our fallen heroes who gave their lives for our freedom. No greater gift exists—and no greater sacrifice is possible—than to give your life for something you believe in.

While our military and their families deserve our thanks every day, May has been named National Military Appreciation Month. It’s easy to overlook the daily sacrifices service members and their families make for us, but their sacrifices are real and significant. Check out some ways you can show them your thanks on the Military Appreciation Month facebook page.

Some say that those in the military signed up for their lifestyle. They signed up to serve their country and give their lives if necessary to protect our freedom. But even though they’ve committed to serve, hardships accompany that service. Families are often separated. Children may be born while a father is away. Finances can be challenging when families live in separate locations. Moves can be frequent and unexpected. Communication may be sporadic. Deployments can come up unexpectedly. Pre-deployment training and preparation are stressful. And loneliness is sometimes overwhelming. Add fear to the equation when the service member is deployed to a war-torn area. In addition, a military career includes a certain amount of peril on a daily basis.

I was a military wife for twenty-one years. Those serving in the military are among the most dedicated, patriotic people I’ve ever known.

The special camaraderie among service members and dependents with others in the military community is comparable to a fraternity. Usually military families live far away from their relatives, so military friends are like family wherever they’re stationed. These relationships are crucial in their daily lives. I’m still in touch with some of our military friends from more than thirty-five years ago, and I treasure those ties.

Military families do not lead normal, nine-to-five lives. Days and hours are dictated by the mission. Service members can be called to serve at any time—weekends, holidays, or whenever needed. Their lives are dedicated to service to their country.

Those who have served during times of combat are forgotten heroes. We who have not served have no idea what they have experienced and carry with them for the rest of their lives. Many will not talk about their experiences because the pain is too great. Grief? Yes. Unspeakable grief.

The gifts of service and sacrifice from our troops, their families, war veterans, and fallen heroes are priceless. Our greatest honor and thanks go to them—along with our prayers. God bless you all!

© 2012 Judy Brizendine

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4 Responses to “Honor Our Fallen Heroes, Our Military, and Their Families”

  1. Judy,

    Thank you for this powerful essay and thank you for being a military wife and serving our country. My father was a Sgt. Marine in WWII; most of my mother’s brothers served the Army, Navy, Air Force.

    Do you write for T.A.P.S. Magazine? I did one piece. It’s really a wonderful organization to honor the families of the fallen which brings me to say how very sorry I was to read about the loss of your husband. May he rest in peace taking care of important matters on the other side while you help so many here on this side.

    With kindness and compassion,
    Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP

    • admin says:

      Mary Jane,

      Thank you so much for your very thoughtful and kind note. I was privileged to be a military wife, and I wouldn’t change those years for anything. I gained a valuable perspective that I feel fortunate to have. I honor the service of your father and other family members, too, and appreciate their sacrifice.

      I haven’t written for T.A.P.S. magazine, but I’m definitely familiar with the organization and the wonderful work they do for families of
      those who have died. I would love to write an article for them! One man who endorsed my book is on the board of T.A.P.S., and I was very fortunate that he agreed to read my book and offer an endorsement.

      Thank you for your sentiments about my husband. He died unexpectedly just a few years after he retired from the Marine Corps.

      Receiving messages like yours is so encouraging, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for taking the time to send a message and for your compassionate words.

      Bless you,

  2. Karen says:

    Thank you, Judy. Beautifully written. My heart opens to those men and women that return home with such heavy hearts and have to process all that they have witnessed.

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much for your comments, Karen, and for taking the time to read the blog and leave a message.

      My heart also goes out to the men and women returning from combat. I cannot imagine the thoughts and memories they have to face–and find a way to process and live with. Their sacrifices are many and great. We owe them such a debt of gratitude.

      Thank you again for your kind note,

      Warm regards,