The evening of July 4th, I sat on a boat watching fireworks, beautiful night, slight breeze, not to hot, not too cold, nearly perfect. I looked around at all the other boats; people talking and laughing and having fun. Folks on shore hooting and hollering as the sky lit up with colors and bursts of all shapes and sizes. It was wonderful. I sat and at some point amidst the fanfare, I thought of a song I heard at a Monroe Crossing concert a few days earlier, about the Minnesota 1st, , a civil war battalion from our great state of MN. I’m not good with history, as my memory doesn’t hold all the stuff in the right places and release it at the right times, but the thing that caught me about this song, was how this battalion of men was on the battlefield for a very short time. In fact, their job was to bye the Union army time to get reinforcements in, and those few hours, cost them the lives of nearly 250 men. 250 men died to a force that was several times larger than they were. They all went in knowing exactly what they were facing and what the odds were that any of them would survive. Never again, would they kiss their wives, hug their kids, see a sunset, walk across soft green grass, hang out with their buddies. Never. And they went forward anyway. I know that was a really long time ago, but it made me think about how different our country would be, if the South had won the war. How different would we be if this young country had lost the Revolutionary War, or WWI, or WWII, or how different our world might be if we “stayed out” of all the conflicts we enter into. Let me be clear, I’m not a person who thinks we need to solve the world’s problems, nor do I think that battle accomplishes that. But I do have to lend respect to the men and women who have served our country believing that what they were fighting for was going to change our country, and perhaps the world, for the better. My first husband was in the Navy Reserve. During that time, he served in two wars and during our marriage not only did his “two weeks a year, one weekend a month” but also 18 months overseas. That time gave me a new appreciation not just for the people in uniform, but for their families. The people at home keeping their lives together and running smoothly so that their armed forces loved one, can worry about nothing but doing their job of service. People trust me, it takes a village to do EVERYTHING, and that village showed up in several ways. It changed me, changed my son and changed our lives forever. I didn’t enjoy that time, but it taught me A LOT. I could go on and on, but you get it. I think we all know someone, or several someone’s, who have committed their time, or their entire lives to serving our country. I thank you.
Very simply, in honor of all of those men and women, and their families, at our house, we thank you.