This Veterans Day is unlike any other in my lifetime. I had always sat back and really "experienced" a Veteran's Day celebration. I had always felt that it was a day of honor for those that served our Country through their sacrifices, suffering and enormous pride that they all exhume because they served in the United States Armed Forces.
I think this year if different for two reasons. The first is the pride that I see in the eyes, facial expressions and overall "vibe" of being around the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg. The warmth, welcoming and excitement of their energy simply fills the room. Their pride is beyond anything that words can describe.
Almost all of the Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg (whether they are officially a member of our organization, or not), are sure that at some point in the future, their son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, niece, nephew or grandchild will respond to the call of serving their country and be stationed with a unit or group involved in our current war, the War on Terrorism.
It is hard, painful and emotional beyond belief to send a husband or spouse to a foreign land (like Afghanistan). It is sad, exhausting and heart-breaking to send one of your own children or one of the next generation. I, like so many others, have done both.
This second reason that this particular Veterans Day is different for me is that I had the opportunity to experience a forgotten pride. The pride of our teenagers. Specifically the teenagers and pre-teens of Thornburg Middle School, who honored local Veterans at a special assembly last week. The 6th graders lined the halls, waved American flags and yelled "Thank You" and "We Appreciate You" and just a simple "Yeah" as about 40 of us walked through their hallway.
We had the opportunity to see their special Memorial to honor the 9/11 victims, and then we moved on to a extra-special ceremony in the gymnasium. It was emotional, historic and beautiful in so many ways that I can't even begin to describe the service. Generations were recognized, including my husband, myself and our granddaughter. Thank you Mr. Kirk Tower for an amazing ceremony to honor all of our military this Veterans Day.
We are spending this Veterans Day with my husband's best friend. They met 35 years ago at Camp Lejeune, N.C. It will be a weekend full of stories, memories and tribute. No matter how you celebrate this weekend, please take a moment to remember their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families. We should remember we are Blessed.
Have a great Veterans Day weekend and Happy Birthday to all Marines everywhere!
Linda Clevenger, Organization Direct
1st VP Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg