Armed Forces and Memorial Day
Our church presents a combination “Armed Forces Day” and “Memorial Day” concert on Memorial Sunday, and this year was no exception. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the last rehearsal was tough; I was a little curious how the actual performance would go.
We played eight songs (which is a lot), including “Stars and Stripes Forever” (which is the pinnacle piece for a piccolo player like me). The feature piece is “Armed Forces Salute,” where the choir and orchestra present each service’s song (not hymn). They invite current/former service members and anyone with “loved ones serving” to stand during each song. As we started up, I got a little teary, but I had ten measures of rest to recover.
We got to the Marine Corps song (“From the hills of Monteczuma….” etc), and Bruce and I proudly stood as we played (harder for trombone-player Bruce than for me). Several people came up afterwards and told us how happy they were that we stood to support our son.
Courtney, a french horn player who sits right behind me, has an Army husband currently serving in Iraq. (It’s his third tour. They have a five-year-old, and he has been home for, at most, two Christmases.) I have no idea what she is going through. But she knows what I’m going through, and she has been a huge support. In between two of the songs, she whispered, “Laura!” and handed me a hankie. I also got a big hug after the service. Having people like her around will help a lot.
Pastor Will Rice gave an amazing sermon about the blessings of freedom, the sacrifices of those who serve, and how important it is to say “thank you” to those in service. At one service, the congregation even applauded after the sermon, and at our church anyway, that rarely happens.
Our church also has a weekly prayer list for those in the military. I wrote on Monday asking for Sean to be added, and the list is now stuck on our refrigerator.
I’ve fiddled around some online and found some information on his training schedule. I’m finding that one of the hardest parts is not knowing what he’s doing each day. (This will be somewhat alleviated with his letters, but that’s another week off at least.) I found a daily training matrix from the other boot camp at Parris Island, SC. Sean’s won’t be exactly the same, but it’ll be close. Boot camp won’t be “fun” in any sense of the word, but there are certain training exercises that he was/is looking forward to, including martial arts, pugil sticks, and marksmanship. He’s also going to learn First Aid and other useful skills.
We won’t know much more until we get his first letter, which won’t be for another week (at least). A friend’s son went through boot camp last year. She told me (on Facebook) that it’s hard to be patient (no kidding!) but it makes the first letter that much sweeter.
I am actually doing better than I thought I would this first week. I know there will be days when I am absolutely flattened because I miss him so much. But for now, I’m OK. I don’t know how I’d get through it, though, without the love and support of family and friends. Thank you.
–Mighty Marine Mom