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I have been asked to speak at the Memorial Day Ceremony that will take place at the Fort Douglas Cemetery on Monday, and I am praying for inspiration to say something worthy of the people who will be there and those who have gone before. Standing in that hallowed place, feeling the spirit of sacrifice and patriotism that is there, I hope to offer something that shows my gratitude.
I am a free woman. I am a woman free to speak my mind, learn about any subject, travel anywhere wearing anything I choose, rise in business or government, marry and have children, worship or not as my conscience dictates - all because of the sacrifice of the men and women we will honor on Monday. I am a free woman because they showed courage often beyond their years, because they and their precious families sacrificed.
I do not know the pain of losing a child. I cannot imagine the agony of having a child die for any reason. I'm supposed to go first. I'm not supposed to outlive my children. But what if I do? How would I handle the loss of one of my sons? If one of my sons chooses to serve his country and dies in that service, how would I handle it? If I went to a memorial service like the one I will attend on Monday, what would I want to hear from a speaker like me?
I hope for inspiration, for humility and a sense of gratitude. I plan to share a story or two from my father's service in the Marines in World War II. I may share a few details about two of my ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. Perhaps I will tell the story of my mother's brother who was honored for his fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. But mostly - I pray for the right words to show these members of the military and their families that I am grateful. I may not be a great American, but I am a grateful one.
If you have any words of wisdom for me, I would so appreciate them.