Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Hero Next Door {Bigger Picture Moments}

Welcome to Bigger Picture Moments, a weekly writing meme where we breathe in the moments that paint a picture of the grander scheme. All moments are welcome in this space -- small or large, as community is just as important as the grander awareness brought on by searching for a bigger picture every week.
Bigger Picture Moment


hero: a): a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b): an illustrious warrior c): a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d): one who shows great courage 

Hero is a word that get thrown around a lot in today's modern society with out, in my opinion, any real basis or without knowledge of the meaning of the word. Steven Slatter was called a hero for essentially throwing a tantrum much the way a 3yo does when they don’t like their situation. He showed no great strength or ability, no great achievements or noble qualities, no courage. He yelled, repeated obscenities and walked off a job.

Today is Veterans Day. It is celebrated today, November 11, because it is also Armistice Day, which celebrates the signing of the treaty that ended World War 1. It has been called Veterans Day, celebrating all Veterans since 1954. When the first Armistice Day (1918) was celebrated Woodrow Wilson said this:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations."

Today I fear that to most Americans, Veterans Day is not “filled with pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service” but rather a day that is filled with hitting the best sales or finding childcare for a child that is off from school.

An old friend posted this on her Facebook page today:
I am a Veteran and a Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including, my life. Regardless of personal political views, that is an honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer remember that fact.
It hit me and it made me think. She is not the only one that wrote that blank check.

Her family and over a million other families wrote that same check. Those families agreed to be the silent heroes. They don’t wear a uniform and don’t march in parades. They signed on to man the home front. To keep vigil night after night while their solider is in a foreign land. To raise their sons and daughters alone so that you and I have the right and freedom to raise them how we want, send them to the schools we choose. They go to sleep in empty beds alone saying their silent prayers and counting the days until their check expires and they can live a life together again.

These families are heroes. 

These families show the courage to go about their lives everyday and hear the talk of the media around them, to see the signs condemning what their loved one are commissioned to do. Watching protesters invade what should be private and sacred family space to make their own political agenda heard.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the military and veterans. My grandfather was in the Army, I have two uncles and three cousins in the Air Force, close friends in the Navy and Marines. I have seen service change people. I have seen my goof, screw up, directionless ex-boyfriend (all said with love we were/are still friends!) turn into a responsible man and father with goals and a career thanks to the Marines.

While you may or may not agree with why we are in various parts of the world I have seen the good our men and women are doing. I have had three friends/family serve in Afghanistan. I have seen their pictures from inside the country I have heard their stories. They are doing good. They are training people, staffing hospitals, and bringing needed supplies to children and schools. They are giving these people things that you are right now probably taking for granted. They are doing it all while their spouses, children, and families sit at home and wait for Skype to ring or go to sleep with a pillow made from a picture of daddy.

So today, while you are trying to figure out how to entertain your kids while they are not at school, instead of feeling frustrated, be thankful. Thankful that you live in a free country, thankful for those families that have given so much so you can have that moment with your kids.

This is what I think a hero looks like. Not just the ones in uniform, the ones surrounding them in love. Keep them in your hearts and prayers today, and everyday.


Photo Credits, clockwise from top left:
KateTasha, Rebecca, Sarah, Rose, Tim & Katie, Rose, Aimee & Bobby (the ex!), FEMA
Want your Hero added to my collage? I will collect pics through Saturday night and post a new, larger collage in my Sunday post. Email me your pic and link you want it credited back to.

Link up your Bigger Picture Moment Below:


Hyacynth said...

Beautiful sentiments, Melissa. Really and honestly. I am so thankful for our vets. And I'm going to remember to be extra thankful today and tell them.

Tasha Lehman said...

Thank you so much for including us in your collage. What a beautiful post. :) My post on Veterans Day is here:

Rose said...

Thank you! As a Veteran and a Navy Wife, thank you!
And I love the collage. I love Kate's picture.

Melissa said...

Great observations! "Hero" is used so flippantly today, and you are right, those who are willing to sacrifice are the true heros. I come from a family history of military service, and so often those service members are quickly forgotten by the very people they have served.