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By Cathie Sibley
La Bella Amore Italian Bistro 

Memorial Day

Taste of Italian


Most of you who know me or have been to my restaurant are aware that I have a son who is active duty in the United States Air Force and has just re-enlisted for his third tour of duty. Due to the sensitive nature of his work I cannot mention his name nor include his photo in this article; however, that does not diminish my pride in him. When holidays like Memorial Day and veterans Day come around each year I am especially proud of my son for his dedicated service to our country.

When he was making the decision to enlist in the Air Force his father and I both had a serious talk with him about what it really means to dedicate your life to the service of your country. It means writing a blank check for any and all costs up to and including your life. It means long hours and low pay. It means sleepless nights in trenches in war zones. It means four men to a 8 by 12 room in a metal shipping container in the 125 degree desert in Iraq. It means missing holidays and important family events. It means worrying your parents to death when you are in a war zone and they cannot pick up the phone and call you. And that’s just what it means to be enlisted, being a parent or spouse or child or sibling of an active duty military possesses its own unique set of sacrifices and fears.

I have been fortunate enough to meet many of my son’s peers and I have to tell you... I am very impressed with the dedication of today’s military members. Each and every member currently serving in the United States military is there of their own accord. Today’s United States Military is the largest volunteer force in history. The last draft ended in 1973, two years before the Vietnam War ended. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the nearly one and a half million active duty and 1.2 million reserve men and women who have willingly signed on the dotted line and written a blank check for their lives. Some would argue they are paid so they are not volunteers, they are employees…with every breath, a military member volunteers his or her life. Frankly it humbles me, and it is not often a parent is so humbled by the actions of their child.

I think most of us, including myself forget what Memorial Day is about. To many American’s it is an extra day off work, a day to have picnics and parties, a long weekend to travel or camp. Memorial Day is all of those things, but most importantly it is a day to honor those who have paid the ultimate price, have written the ultimate check, the check that says “I have protected my country with my life”. Since 1776 there have been nearly one million United States military personnel who have lost their lives in combat. That is what Memorial Day is about! May God bless all who have written that check and all who will write it in the future!

Peace and Blessings to all!


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