I am patriotic. I love my God, my family and my country. And although there are some days when things happening make it hard to recognize my country, I still love it. I am extremely proud of our military men and women who give themselves every day to keep us safe and free. And maybe I’m a little bias, but there is this one soldier that I believe is the best.
One week after Grandpa died, my brother graduated from the army’s flight school. He officially flies helicopters for the United States Army. And to say that I am proud of him is a complete understatement of my feelings. We are all so proud of the things my brother is doing.
Throughout the summer as Grandpa’s health was declining and my brother’s graduation was approaching, as a family we started discussing what would need to happen so my parents could be at the graduation. It was an important milestone in his military career and important to everyone that my parents be there. Had life turned out differently, my grandparents would have been planning on being at the graduation as well.
My mom had been at every graduation ceremony since my brother enlisted. We were there when he graduated from boot camp. We were there when he deployed to Iraq. There was no way she was going to miss this one.
It was so hard as we were figuring out who would stay where and who would do what to help with Grandpa. And then in God’s infinite wisdom and timing, Grandpa died one week before the graduation and just days before mom and dad would have left to be at the ceremony.
The day after Grandpa died, my mom, grandma, aunt and I were all sitting around Grandma’s table talking about the coming days’ and it was brought up that Grandma should go with my parents to the graduation. There was some back and forth, but why wouldn’t she go? Well, one night there was a military ball. Not to worry, my brother said that if it was too late to get Grandma a meal at the ball that he would gladly give her his. She didn’t want to go alone? No problem. My brother got her a date. Maybe my brother wouldn’t want her there? Are you kidding? He had her a date and a meal before she had said the final yes that she would go.
I’m so glad that she went. I’m glad that she got to be there. And I know that Grandpa would have wanted her to go and be there with my brother.
What happened over the next few days says so much about the military and how they truly are a family. When my brother went in to pay for Grandma’s meal for the ball, as he had for our parents, he was told not to worry about it. His unit had paid for it. And although there were other grandparents at the graduation, our grandma was the only one the unit had purchased a bouquet of flowers for.
And when my brother said he needed an escort for his grandma to the ball, he had no problems finding one.
Grandma was asked to help my sister-in-law pin my brothers wings on his uniform.
And if you look in the background of those last three pictures, you will notice that all the commanding officers were watching my brother and Grandma. I love the smiles on the commanding officers’ faces. You can tell that it meant something to them as it did to us.
On more than one occasion, people came up to Grandma and told her how sorry they were for her loss. It was obvious that they knew how important Grandpa was to my brother and how important my brother is to them.
The memories made that week are some that will never be forgotten and always be treasured. The honor, respect, love and compassion given, not because of anything we did, but because of how much Grandpa meant to my brother is something that even those of us who weren’t able to be there will remember.