They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
- Francis Marion Crawford
(image from Conservative Blog Therapy)
In May of 2007, while Joel was serving in Kirkuk, Iraq, I took Grace for a trip to see some of my family. On the plane ride there, I met a woman who forever changed my heart. As I got Grace settled in her seat, a woman across the aisle noticed a picture I had of Joel in Grace's diaper bag. It was a picture of him in his dress blues at our wedding - a picture I kept with me all the time so that I could see his face while he was so far away. The woman across the aisle asked me about the picture and my husband. I told her a little bit about him and that he was overseas in Iraq. At that moment, her face changed - she looked somber, in pain and weary.
She said that her son served, too. Served. Past tense. The tears started flowing from her eyes and she began telling me about her son who was a Marine and had recently died in Iraq. She, along with her other son, who was sitting beside her, were on their way to meet his body as it came to the base.
At that point, we were both crying and although I only knew her for five minutes, I reached across the aisle and held her hand while she cried. Passengers were still getting settled in their seats, and while all the world was in motion, her and I shared an understanding that no one around us could possibly know.
Throughout our flight, we exchanged glances and smiles and both had tears in our eyes. Every once in a while she would pat my leg and I would reach across the aisle and squeeze her arm.
Her son had paid the ultimate price for our freedom and our liberties.
Joel and I haven't known too many who have died in this war. Thank God for that. But many have been lost, and it's those lives that make today so special and meaningful.
I hope that as you enjoy time with friends and family today, that you would take a moment to remember those who have died for us and pray for those who fight for us today.