I’ve never really been a patriotic person. Not to say I don’t tear up when the Star Spangled Banner plays on July 4th or that I burn the flag or anything, but I’ve never been one to run around the streets of America professing my love for my country and it’s people. Truth be told, if there was a distant opposite of patriotic… that’s probably what I would have been considered. Not anti-American, not aloof or unconcerned, and definitely not painting my face red, white, and blue. On the patriotic spectrum, I really didn’t have a set in stone place… until I became a military wife.
By no means do I have Uncle Sam Wants You posters throughout my home or am I typing this wearing a flag inspired Dr. Seusss hat. Understand, I still very much so question where our country is headed as well as who is running it and by all means do not always agree. However, since leaving the US behind a year and a half ago for the vineyards of Italia, I have been reminded almost on a daily basis how lucky I am to be an American.
Oddly enough, my new found appreciation for the USA did not come from seeing acts of service being done on base, or gripping inspirational stories from military members overseas. I’ve learned to love my homeland from seeing my Italian neighbors’ eyes light up at the mere mention of New York City… at the admiration and almost envy many Italians and other Europeans have at the fact that English is my native language… and most of all, realizing that America is not only the land of the free, but also land of opportunity and convenience… and this is where I call home.
So today, on Memorial Day, I feel differently than what I did before becoming a military wife. I see group shots of my friends at the beach posted on Facebook and tweets about just how much liquor will be consumed this weekend filling up my newsfeed. The other half of my feed is now taken over by fellow milspouses and members that have a very different message. Pictures of widows crying over their fallen soldier’s grave are posted with messages below like “Remember what Memorial Day is about.” As much as I’d love to be working on my tan, in the back of my mind lays the real reason why my husband has off from work today.With this being said, by no means are Tyler and I spending the day learning how to fold flags or weeping over articles on the Internet (because I’m not sure of any cemeteries in Italy that would have American heroes in them?). We’ve spent most of the weekend checking out nearby vineyards and playing with our dog at the lake. But to me, Memorial Day is still about spending it with family and friends down the shore and making delicious, patriotic recipes you’ve found on Pinterest. And, as I’m doing all of these things, I think about my little brothers – both who are deployed right now. I think about my husband who right now is sleeping safely in our bed, and thank God for this day because I know I’ll be with him. And lastly, I think about those wives and sisters and mothers who aren’t spending Memorial Day with their loved one… and I hope that after reading this, you do, too.
Reposted on my personal blog Ciao, Blogga.