Monday, May 28, 2012

Just say thanks, it's easy.

The photos in this post have been used on this blog before
but I thinks it's appropriate this Memorial Day to use them again.

I have recently acquired a habit
of going up to any military guy I see in uniform
and thanking him for what he does.
For me.
For us.

I feel a little guilty that it has taken me this long
to show my appreciation for our military.
I know the reason for this change,
it's because in a small way, for the first time in my life
a war has actually come home to my house in New London, PA.

A few months before my daughter Bryn got married last summer
her husband to be returned home from Afghanistan,
after being there with his fellow marines for 7 months.

Many of you reading this can relate,
when a family member or someone you know intimately
is fighting in a war your thought process changes.

"The war in Afghanistan" isn't just a catch phrase any longer.
When you hear that on TV, you stop what your doing and listen.
You watch the news differently.
You read the paper differently.

My son in law came home,
but my thought process is as if he is still there.
I relate in a way to family members of all the military personnel
who are fighting somewhere in the world and I don't even know them.

My son in law Jim's service to our country
was eye opening for me.

That's why I thank people in uniform
when given the chance.

When Jim came home he was given a surprise parade
much to his dismay.

I'm glad I was home because it was one of the coolest things I ever saw.
The party was thrown by a group of bikers called the Warriors Watch Riders.
Their sole purpose is to welcome home returning military personnel.
They think they deserve a little fan fare.
The group is made up of veterans,
but specifically our Vietnam vets.

They didn't get much of a welcome when they came home.
They're out to change that.

And I can't tell you how impressed I was by what I saw.

The parade mustered in a parking lot
before heading out on the roads.

 A good portion of the parade route
was along a 4 lane road with many intersections.
They were not an issue.
The police stopped traffic for miles
to let these Harley riding vets roll, uninterrupted.

Look at the faces of these warriors.
Each a hero.
 The parade ended at Jim's house,
where I assumed the bikers would just wave goodbye.
They didn't.
With bikes parked up and down Jim's sleepy neighborhood
these colors wearing hero's gathered on Jim's front lawn.
Every vet present shook Jim's hand and welcomed him home.
Everyone of these guys was a stranger to Jim before this day.
 At the bottom right hand corner of the next photo is Jim's mom.
How proud do you think she is?

Jim and my daughter in front of the local TV camera.
I don't think they'll be a Memorial Day in my future
where I don't think of Jim and the Warrior Watch Riders.


Karen said...

I love when I see efforts of Patriotism and tribute to our great men and women who put their lives on the line for America.

Great post, Mark. You oughta be writing for someone!...

Joey said...

Way cool! Our small town Memorial Service yesterday was so moving yesterday. Knowing the family of a soldier who lost his life in 2007 made it even more poignant. Hopefully our children checked-in and "got it". I had to keep re-focusing them but I also must remember they are still young and naive. Unfortunately, that naivety will leave them someday but my hope is that maybe, just maybe, it will be when we are no longer at war. Great post, Mark!

SueAnn Lommler said...

I think that is so fabulous!!
Great pics too...truly gave me the flavor of the day!!
Hugs and Thanks to them all

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

When my stepson was buried last year, a very large group of veterans on bikes came to the service and lined the sidewalk outside. They rode to the cemetary and stood at the back. It was very very touching.

missing moments said...

Special indeed!

Donna said...

You're SO right about how having a relationship with someone who has recently served this country changes everything... mine changed forever in 2004 when my son went to 'the Sandbox' for the first time!

Thanks for sharing the images again!

bon bon said...

you have every reason to be proud and show your gratitude, year round.

beth said...

flying home from florida, we had two uniformed men on our flight who are currently serving and i was brought to tears when people gave up their first class seats for these men....all of us watched this when the flight attendant was telling them what was going on while taking them to the front of the plane....

and then as we landed, our pilot got on the microphone and thanked them for their service and we all was soooo great !!!

Jerral Miles said...

My hat's off to Jim... and his family. Thanks to all of you. I like a parade... and especially the one in your pictures.