this is Memorial day weekend, one of my favorite holidays. I love it because it is a time to reflect on what it truly means to be free, and to thank those who have safeguarded those freedoms.
Today, I especially reflect on the sacrifices of Col. James J. Beadling, my father, PFC Addison Hogue Thomson, my husband's grandfather, and Cpl. Scott M. Vincent, my hero.
Most of you who have read my blog already know a little about my Dad. He was a retired Air Force Colonel. He volunteered for service on the 8th of December, 1941. He served in both World War 2 and Korea. In Korea, he served as a squadron commander flying night air-to-ground support for the Marines. The stories that he told me about the Frozen Chosen will stay with me forever. Addison Hogue Thomson was a medic in World War 2. He was there D-Day plus 1 and stayed with his unit through the Battle of the Bulge and more. ( Now, if you say the Battle of the Bulge to most Americans, they think you mean the war against their growing waistline. Sigh). He told stories about coming ashore at Normandy and how he quickly learned to cover the red cross on his helmet with sand and mud? Why, you ask? Well, the Germans were using the crosses for cross hairs.
Cpl. Scott Vincent is the son of a friend. He gave up his life 11 years ago in the Anbar Province in Iraq. He always wanted to be a Marine and served his country proudly. He volunteered for three tours in Iraq. I promised his mother that his sacrifice will never be forgotten. So every year, on Memorial Day and the 30th of April, I think about Scott and the life that he gave up for Freedom. He was young. He had a smile that could light up the whole world, and a spirit to match. He had so much to live for. A girl, marriage, fatherhood.... so much lie ahead, but instead, he laid his life down for Freedom.
This Memorial day as I celebrate with family and friends, I am reminded of the tremendous gift and enormous responsibility that we all have been given. Freedom isn't free and we must all exercise our freedoms with thought and respect but most of all, we must remember to exercise them. Vote. Be involved. Don't let those who have paid the ultimate price to have given their lives in vain.