Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Memories - Day 3

Hello all, and welcome to the third and final day in the Memorial Day Memories link up! I've had such an amazing time, and I hope y'all have, too! If you haven't read them already, be sure and catch up on the posts that have been a part of the link up so far.

Today, Faith and Kellyn are joining the the link up. Well, technically, Kellyn posted yesterday, but I didn't link to it. Sorry about that! But be sure to go and read her post! :)

Yesterday I was able to drag my sister along with me to attend a WWII memorial day ceremony. It was held at our Veterans Memorial park, and it was AMAZING! They played a ton of 40s style music (awesomeness. xD), and several veterans of WWII shared their stories. We also had the Honor Guard from our local Air Force Base there, and  of course, we sang the National Anthem, and recited the pledge of allegiance.
It was a one-of-a-kind experience, and I enjoyed it immensely. Being surrounded by so many men who have served is sobering. You're faced with just what they sacrificed for you, you get a chance to thank them, thought it's in such a small way. I was able to meet a number of the veterans, and I never fail to be impressed by their courage and humility.

So yes, it was a wonderful way so celebrate memorial day. (I also got  interviewed for our local news station, which was a fun first. xD)

 On day one of the link up I told you I wasn't sure what I had planned for today. So yeah, this post is gonna be a bit different. ;) Since I've posted about two fallen heroes, I'm not going to do another story on one today. Well, at least, not a true one.

I am, however, going to go ahead and share a short story I wrote for Memorial day. I hope y'all enjoy it. Also, at the end of the post there is a YouTube playlist that I put together with a nice assortment of Memorial Day songs. So if you're like me and you want to listen to some songs that talk about the greatest sacrifice, go ahead and listen to them. And have a box of tissues on hand. ;) I think they've all made me tear up listening to them.
So yes, without further ado, the story and songs! And I hope y'all have a blessed Memorial day!


It seems that as Memorial Day rolls around each year, the ache I feel should decrease. It doesn't. Sometimes I wonder if there's something wrong with me. It's been two years. I should be over it, shouldn't I?
But then again, how does one ever get over losing a brother?
The grass is soft and full beneath my boots as I make my way into the small cemetery on the outskirts of our little town. All is quiet here. Most people have already paid their respects, and, as usual, I am the last to do so. Not because I chose to, but because I didn't get home till an hour ago.
You see, I've been overseas twice without him since he died. And it seems that every time I come home, it gets harder to do so. Why?
Well, I reckon that could be because he isn't coming back with me.
The hot sun has started to fade a bit, but I can hardly feel the decrease of heat under my full dress uniform. People tell me it isn't necessary to dress up to go see him. But I feel it is. See, if it weren't for him, I'd be the one lying there. I should be the one lying there. But I'm not.
The least I can do is show him the respect he deserves when I place the flag beside the gravestone.
The little white, picket gate still squeaks on its hinges as I open it. I allow myself a small smile. No one can find it in their hearts to fix it. My brother, he was the one who lent a hand in doing such repairs in our little town. Wherever he was needed, that's where you would find him. And it didn't matter what the job was. It could be anything from babysitting, or helping an elderly lady take her trash to the curb. No job was too low for my brother.
My hero.
I close the gate behind me, and my steps slow. My eyes sweep over the other gravestones. Some are a fitting remembrance for people who have lived life to the full. People who were blessed with many years.
But others are unable to properly represent the lives that were snuffed out before it was time. People full of dreams. Dreams that never came true.
For my brother, that dream was having a family. He even had a girl picked out, and they were gonna tie the knot when we got home. But I guess the Good Lord had another plan. And while I know we're supposed to accept His will, there are many times I still struggle with it.
I pause in front of the simple stone marker. Such a small tribute to a man who was so loved by everyone. I take off my hat and kneel down next to it.

Mitchell “Mitch” Lawson
July 4th, 1992 - July 1st, 2015
To those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,
May we forever be grateful.

He had died only three days before his twenty-third birthday. Being born on the fourth, I think Mitch always knew he was going to enter the service. He used to joke that mom had set it all up for him. For as long as I can remember, it was all he ever had planned. And being the younger brother that I was, all I wanted to do was follow in his footsteps.
And I had.
I unbutton my pocket and pull out a picture that is now faded and worn. It’s both of us, just before we shipped out on our first tour overseas. We’re both dressed in the Marine fatigues, our arms draped around each other’s shoulders. Goofy grins cover our faces as we both exasperate mom. She wanted a good picture, and we had been determined to give her only goofy ones.
Now I wish we had cooperated. Gotten a sober picture. 
But then, it wouldn’t be us. We were the crazy ones. In family get-togethers, we were always the ones causing trouble. Nothing big, of course. Just things like putting a dead mouse in the fridge to scare Aunt Ruth, or putting plastic spiders in the guest bed to make our cousins scream.
The memories make me smile. “We were quite a pair, weren’t we, Mitch?”
Of course, the gravestone remains silent, and my question goes unanswered. Suddenly, the happy memories are replaced with the nightmares.
It was a routine check over in the Middle East, where we had been station. It wasn’t supposed to end in death.
We were ready to leave when suddenly shots rang out. Our small squadron of troops immediately dove to the ground, trying to find a bit of cover.
All of them, except for me.
I stood frozen, unmoving. I had been in firefights before, but this one was different. My eyes were glued to something in front of me that no one else could see.
Half hidden behind a rock outcropping, a hooded man had a sniper rifle pointed at me. But for some reason, he hadn’t shot me yet. And I couldn't move for fear that it would set him off.
The problem was, Mitch had the same line of sight that I did, and he saw the sniper. Things happened so fast, it feels like someone played it in fast motion.
I saw the man’s finger movie toward the trigger, and before I could do anything, I had been shoved to the ground from behind.
I landed hard, and my mouth filled with the gritty sand.
Behind me, a shot rang out.
I turned.
And my brother . . . he was gone.
The wind runs its fingers through my hair, and I’m jerked back to the present. Putting the photo back in my pocket, I take the flag and press it firmly into the ground beside the tombstone that marks his life. “Thank you, bro.” I swallow hard and take a deep breath before I’m able to finish. “For being my hero, for being my best friend . . . and for giving it all up for me.”
I stand and put my hat back on my head. My jaw clenches as I struggle to keep the tears back. Good grief, if Mitch could see me now, he wouldn’t believe I was the same person.
But then, I’m not. Not really.
The sun is beginning to slip below the trees. I need to make my way home. I stand there for a moment longer, and then snap a crisp salute. “Semper fi.”
Two small words that seem so inadequate. But then again, what else is there to say?
Always Faithful. That describes my brother. Faithful to the end. He fought the good fight. He did his work. Now he’s enjoying his eternal rest with our Saviour.
And one day, I know I'll see him again. Where there will be no more suffering, no more pain. No more war. And everything will be made new.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.


The land of the free, the home of the brave, 
A Nation under God, we stand to proclaim.
For freedom and liberty we stand, 
but a high price must be paid. 

All gave some, but some gave all.
Some still give to this day. 
That we may freely, securely live, in this land that we dearly call home. 

Some Gave All. Never Forget Their Sacrifice. 


  1. That story!!!!! *cries* It was amazing, Jess!! Loved it!
    I am always amazed when I think about all of the men and women who were willing to pay the ultimate price for our freedom. :) Happy Memorial Day!

    1. Aw, thank you, Livi! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. ;)
      I know. It just... yeah. Makes me pretty much speechless. This isn't much more we can say then "thank you." They deserve our highest rescpect!

  2. This was awesome Jess! Thank you so much for hosting Memorial Memories. I enjoyed participating. I was thinking of doing one for Veteran's Day. What do you think?

    1. Thanks, Gabrielle! And you're welcome; thank you so much for joining!
      Oh, that'd be awesome! If you do, I'd love to join in it. :)

    2. You're welcome! Thanks, I will be sure to host one come Veteran's Day!

  3. Aww, Jesseca, I'm crying again! YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE THIS POWER OVER ME! It's not fair. ;)

    1. *hands you tissue* Welllll, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a *little* happy that it made you want to cry. I about cried writing it, so... xD

  4. Hi Jesseca, I just tagged you on my blog. Have fun with it and I'd love to read your answers whenever you get them up.

    1. Thank you so much, Rebekah! I'll try and get to it soon! :)

  5. Random comment ... I tagged you: :D

  6. This is SO SAD AND BEAUTIFUL!! Wow. I love this. (Sorry I'm just getting around to reading all the Memorial Day posts!)

    1. Aw, thank you! So glad you enjoyed it! :) Haha, I totally get it. ;) I've gotten behind in so many posts lately... ;P