I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with a very special friend.  Listening to her share the journey she has been on really put life into perspective.  Her husband has been serving our country, is currently deployed to Iraq engaging in a dangerous wartime environment.  He has spent nearly all of his adult life serving our country and fighting these wars/not wars.  The numerous deployments to the middle east have amounted to more time away from home than anyone could have anticipated.  Yet, his wife says – they would all rather chose to be there…battling ISIS – than here waiting for the terrorists to invade our country and kill us.  These men know what they are up against and they know they will fight with every ounce of strength they possess in order to protect their fellow countrymen and women.

I let her words sink deep into my heart for the remainder of the day.  I thought about the sacrifices that my friends are making.  There are so many, some of them obvious but a lot of them not so much.  You see, this couple no longer have a functioning marriage, for when her husband is home he chooses to sleep in the camper outside.  He suffers such severe PTSD that he doesn’t trust himself to not harm her.  With this latest deployment he is willing to end the marriage so that at least she can live a normal life.  However her commitment to him goes far beyond herself, her commitment to him is unending.

I can’t help but be poignantly reminded of their sacrifices.  They will never again have an opportunity for a normal life – for theirs is forever changed.  They won’t feel the frivolous stresses you or I will – their stress is of a magnitude most of us won’t comprehend.

And I look around and I see protests.  I see riots.  I see unrest.  And I am ashamed.  I question this behavior… Is it because of an ill perceived fear of the unknown?  Our soldiers probably feel that fear too.  Or is it because someone didn’t get what they wanted?  I am sure that happens nearly every day for the majority of us, but we don’t resort to riots and unrest and protests.  Maybe it is just beyond my realm of understanding, these reasons…

But I look around and I see people disrespecting our flag, standing on it, shitting on it, burning it and now refusing to fly it.  And I look further and I see a bunch of punks who cannot bring themselves to stand during our national anthem.  And I am heartbroken.  I am heartbroken because I am thinking about the men and women in our military and the families of all military who have and are still – putting their own life – their own dreams – their own families aside in order to bring safety and protection to each and every one of us.  With the one life they have been given they are choosing to sacrifice all.  And that flag… that flag represents the freedom they are giving to us.  That flag is for the people and to disrespect that flag is to disrespect their service.

Honor.  Integrity.  Patriotism.  Perspective.