My sweet 15-month-old sat perched upon her daddy’s shoulders. She excitedly waved the miniature American flag, but it had no meaning for her like it did for her father. This was the first day that her daddy could proudly stand and say, “I am an American.”
As I snapped this picture, I remember looking into my baby girl’s eyes. Her bloodline told a beautiful story of America.
On my side of the family, we had decorated serviceman. One of my grandfathers served this country as pilot in the Air Force during World War II while another served in the Philippines. My father served as an officer in Vietnam. Through my family, Ella’s bloodline was filled with those willing to give their lives for America’s continued freedom.
Meanwhile, the other part of her bloodline told a completely different, yet equally beautiful story of those willing to sacrifice.
Can I tell you their story?
This family started in the Philippines; a family of nine farming a sugar cane field and living in a home without running water or electricity. The wife, a mother of seven, made the heart-wrenching decision to leave her husband and children in the Philippines to work as a nurse in the United States.
She knew that after working ten consecutive years she could petition the US government to allow her family to join her in America. This sacrifice brought her joy as she knew her seven children could make a beautiful life with the opportunities available in the US.
This amazing woman was my husband’s mother. Imagine with me the courage (and tears) it took to kiss your seven kids goodbye to go work in a foreign country. You would have to believe with all of your heart that you were making the best decision for your family.
After that dedicated Filipino woman worked 6 days a week for 10 years as a nurse in American hospitals, the American government approved her husband and seven children to enter this country. She continued to work as a nurse as she watched her children realize her American dream.
On my mother-in-law’s last conscious day on this Earth, she watched her 7th child graduate from the Police Academy before she passed from this world into Heaven. She lived just long enough to watch all seven become successful adults who serve their fellow citizens as doctors, nurses, police officers, and even a US military sergeant.
Now, look at that sweet baby girl upon her daddy’s shoulders. Both sides of her lineage literally gave all they possibly could for her life here in America. That’s what Memorial Day is all about.
To those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country and preserve our freedom, we honor you today.
To those who have gone before us paying the price for our rights with the loss of a loved one in service, we honor you today as well.
Thank you for sacrificing for us so that we can live in a country with dreams worth fighting for. We hope to honor you by following in sacrificial and grateful footsteps— in official service to this country or in unofficial service in our everyday lives.