Thank You. | The Grace Between

Thank You.

I would say Happy Veteran’s Day to you all, but this day doesn’t feel happy … it feels heavy. This day bears the full weight, the agonizing cost of our freedom … the staggering sacrifices made by veterans and families alike.

In a letter written to his wife on the eve of the battle of Bull Run, Major Sullivan Ballou wrote the following …

“I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans on the triumph of the Government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and sufferings of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt . . .”


He died in battle a week later.

How great a debt we owe …

To my fellow veterans, and their families … thank you. We can never, ever actually repay it, this debt we bear. We start, we make a mean amends, by honoring you today.

Fourteen years of service, and almost eight of those married to an active duty soldier, means my list of personal gratitude is long, and carries many memories.

I have only a few names here, but please know that I love you all, and am eternally grateful for the sacrifices you have made for me, and for this country I love.

To the living: Thank you to my father David Maddox, who risked his life to save the lives of others. To Bowen Wheeler, his son James Wheeler and his daughter, Mary Beth Wheeler. A family I am proud to know and love, who served our country well, then served our wee family by loving our J Girl in our absence. To my brother John, who still seeks ways to serve. To Larry Landis. To his wife Lynn and son Chris, who work hard to care for those who served.

And of course, Paul Holt and Andrew Newman, who love this country and served it well. I am proud to call you both friend.

To the dead … both the lives cut short, and lives lived full after the fog of war: Words are never enough. We live well to offer a fraction of the thanks you deserve … Jaime, my dear friend, I miss you still every day.

{Read more about Jaime here, here, and here.}

To the men who fought in Vietnam: For so long we {this country} dishonored you. I need you to know, for this veteran, this daughter of your comrade … whose childhood was peppered with memorial ceremonies and a parade of broken men … I joined, I served, to honor you.

With humble, speechless, gratitude.

~M.

{Editor’s note: Nonessential fact about me that probably says a great deal about who I am … my bridal procession music was the song featured in the above video. Ashokan Farewell by Jay Unger.}

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