Memorial Day Musings from The Beach

Dara LevanBlog, Every Soul Has A Story1 Comment

Salty and tropical sunscreen scents permeated the air. The sand scorched the bottom of my feet as we walked toward the water. But it didn’t matter because my family surrounded me. I smiled as my father-in-law gently asked the man about where we should sit.

We unfolded towels and secured the aqua and metal lounge chairs. Zoe, Alec, and their cousins shed watches and wallets. The frothy ocean awaited. Palm fronds swayed as the wind blew through them.

I watched and listened while I searched for shells. Orangish-brown seaweed shrouded the beach. And speaking of shrouds, today is Memorial Day. I thought about soldiers who selflessly served our nation. And the many of them who died to fight for our “freedom, liberty, and justice for all.”

Alec swam further toward the horizon. He is 17 years old. A forceful wave crashed onto the sand and another one hit my heart. How many boys were nearly his age when they left the United States? This year, last year, and the several decades before?

My throat tightened like a taut guitar string on the verge of snapping. My heart squeezed, and I inhaled an intentional, cleansing breath. I could not imagine the fear, worry, and dread millions of parents experience. And how they make peace with their child’s decision and accept what could come next.

I turned away from my thoughts and toward my children, nieces, and nephews. A twinge of guilt trickled through me. We played and gathered at this public beach while soldiers fought battles on others. It’s a privilege many, including myself I just realized, may take for granted.

I am forever thankful for those souls who protect our sacred soil. I am proud to be an American; I am grateful that I was born and live in this country. I glanced around at other families, couples, and friends. What a gift to have freedom.

Every soul has a story. I wish I could hear and write about all of those who risked and lost their lives to save and protect ours. I salute you. And I also honor and revere your parents, spouses, and families. You, too, sacrifice insurmountably as did (and do) the souls whom you love and have lost. I’ve never understood the phrase “Happy Memorial Day.” It is a day of remembrance and reflection. And for me, it is also one of profound gratitude.

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