July 19, 2011

Tub-Full Tuesdays: Embracing the Red, White and Blue

It's time for another Tub-Full Tuesday. This week feature's Mom and what fills her tub. Enjoy!
I realize July 4th has come and gone, but our love of country isn’t about one day. It’s about a feeling rushing in whenever we hear the national anthem sung, or see a flag waving against a Carolina blue sky, or wake up to a tragedy similar to September 11, 2001 and feel Americans come together like a giant wave against terrorism. It’s more than apple pie and cracker jacks, baseball and boxing, it’s deeper and deeper still, to the core of who we are and what we are about.
Patriotism was exemplified for me recently. My husband and I took a riverboat cruise down the Rhine and Mosel rivers of Europe to celebrate our forty-first wedding anniversary. On one of our stops, we went to the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial (pictured below) which was established on December 29, 1944. Situated on fifty acres of land that Luxembourg gave to the U.S. after World War II, it is the final resting place for 5,076 of our military, many of whom lost their lives in the “Battle of the Bulge”. Additionally the names of 371 soldiers are inscribed on two large pylons – young American men who gave their lives in the service of their country and lie in unknown graves somewhere in Europe.

When we exited the bus to walk toward the cemetery, I had not spent one moment thinking about anything except the reverence due while visiting. I was walking with a group led by a tour guide and we were doing the usual, not listening and chatting. As we rounded the large iron gates into the complex, I stopped cold.
Before me I saw a meticulous manicured lawn with row after row, as far as the eye could see, of white marble crosses. Thousands and thousands of crosses dotting the landscape like stars on a clear night.
Peeling away from the throng of people, I walked to one of the two large walls situated in front of a simple, but dignified chapel. Now the crosses became real, not just ornaments lining a pristine landscape, but Henry from Pennsylvania, John from West Virginia, Dale from Oklahoma, and Pierre from New York. I read each name, expelling them in a soft swish of air. The walls expanded and collapsed as I felt the pain and anguish of every family whose husband, son, uncle, nephew, father or brother never came home - Sons of America whose bodies lie across a body of water and thousands of miles from their loved ones and homes.
My heart broke over and over again realizing most of their families would never see where their loved ones were buried. Tears welled up and flowed. I wanted to take every soldier home to their families to give them closure. As beautiful as the dignitaries had tried to make it, it didn’t feel right.
I found a bench away from the crowds. I needed to get myself together before others gathered around me with questions. I was sitting in a field of death, of man’s insanity, of injustice, of which there were no answers. Then out of the corner of my eye something caught my attention. I turned and faced Old Glory flying high above the chapel - red, white and blue waving her banner of valor, victory and honor. I’ve never been more proud to be an American!
And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

What has filled your tub this week?

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