Monday, May 31, 2010

"On Memorial Day, Remember the Mothers, Children, Wives and Lovers Too"

I'm not entirely sure how Memorial Day started as a day dedicated to remembering our soldiers and is today a day for beers and barbecues.

For me, I don't know anyone directly fighting overseas. But I do know there are thousands scattered throughout, fighting for my freedom.

So before me and my family bring out the grill and hot dogs, I made sure to take a moment to read some news articles covering the holiday.

The picture in this post is taken from an article by Donna Trussell, "On Memorial Day, Remember the Mothers, Children, Wives and Lovers Too." It's a powerful photo taken by John Moore in 2007 and reminds me that we aren't just giving thanks to the soldiers fighting for us, but we are also giving thanks to their families.

It takes a brave, strong type of person to sign up and fight for your country but it takes an even stronger type of parent to let your child go into harm's way.

Fortunately, my experience with The Salem News gave me the opportunity to talk with two parents whose children are and were in the military.

One is a mother and Beverly resident, Elaine Woolaver whose son, Matthew, is a sergeant in the U.S. Army's 170th Infantry Division. His division fought in Iraq for 14 months, where he was a specialist with the Bradley tankers.

Read about his latest experience marching in Russia's Red Square Parade: "The Best Mother's Day Gift"

The other parent I got to speak with is Frank Schaeffer, a Salisbury author and father of a Marine, who speaks for the Operation Troop Support program. He has written numerous books about how he dealt with the stress of having a child in the Marines.

"At first it was just my ignorance of the military. It was gut-wrenching fear. It was a weird emotion of pride and fear mixed together. It was a new experience to be very proud of something and then be afraid of the consequences." -Frank

Read more of what Frank had to say in our Q&A here: "Marine Father, Author to Discuss Feelings of Pride and Fear"

So this Memorial Day, I'm giving thanks to the soldiers fighting for my freedom, and an even bigger thanks for the parents, who let their children do it.


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