It's very surreal that on this day last year I celebrated Veteran's Day very differently and with a different heart. Tebo and I still celebrated and participated in the honoring our Veterans today at work, but this year it was very bitter-sweet. I'm still a very proud mom of a Marine. I'm a sad mom as our blue start turned to Gold and no parent wants that to happen, but my son died an honorable man and doing what he wanted to be doing to protect and help his brothers. I know my son best and I know without a doubt that he would not change a thing about December 1, 2010 if it meant one of his brothers would have had to take his place. This I know without doubt. Would he change the heartache that resulted on that day, absolutely, but he told me personally that he would lay his life down for his brothers and that is just what he did along with every American that has the privilege of living a free life today (including me). I won't tell you that I haven't cried most of today (all week really), because I have. I miss him. My heart hurts in a way that I guess I never knew was possible, but at the same time of all this grief and sadness, I'm so proud. I'm proud of Chad and I'm proud of my bonus boys that carried on the fight in spite of their broken hearts as well. They not only carried on the fight, they kicked ass that day and they continue to take care of Tebo and I faithfully. Hmmmmm.... Marines live by Semper Fi (Always Faithful). Let me tell you, they are! I hope I didn't miss telling even one of his brothers in arms thank you for their service and sacrifice today. I tried to reach out to each and every one of them just so they know that we are still supporting them and loving them for not only loving Chad like they do, but for loving us and taking care of us even today almost a year from the day my precious baby boy went to be with the Lord. I know he is in a better place and has no pain and no sadness, but it sure is hard not to allow the mommy and human side of me slip out and want him right back so I can let him crawl into freshly washed sheets (with extra Downy fabric softener) and watch him eat up a 2 lb steak that Tebo hand cut and grilled for him. I long for that crooked smile and that precious sense of humor of his. I will get that again one day in heaven, but I won't lie and say that I don't take a breath each day wishing it was today.
If you have not taken a moment to thank a Veteran or any military person currently serving yet today then make it your goal/mission to do so before you lay your head down to sleep tonight. Unless you have lived with or around someone in the military it is truly difficult to understand what they truly do sacrifice to do this voluntary job and to me it's one of the most honorable jobs a person can do and I will forever be grateful for their service and sacrifices (all of them). My heart breaks for other Gold Start families, because I know how their hearts are feeling today, but right along with their sadness I know they are full of pride as well.
Thank you to every Veteran and currently serving military man or woman. Tebo and I truly appreciate your service and the sacrifices you make and we think of you daily and what you are doing. If I ever see you in person, I am the one that has no problem coming up to you and giving you a hug or a hand shake and saying thank you. Sometimes it may come along with a tear or two, but I have a feeling you won't mind.