This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend. It is the traditional kick-off of the summer season! Picnics, boating, family vacations, beach days, rafting on the river, weddings, family reunions, mountain hiking days, summer camp! All of the things that we associate with summer, get a grand kick-start with Memorial Day.
At our house, we’ll be playing a game of washers in the backyard and probably a round or two of Rummikub. I’ll be fixing a new recipe for hamburgers and I’m also going to try my hand at homemade hamburger buns. I’m going to make cupcakes in little red, white and blue cupcake papers. I’m going to hang the flag out on the front porch.
I’m also going to be thinking of my son-in-law, Captain Ben Culver, U.S. Army. And, while I know that Memorial Day is the day we commemorate those who have died in service to our country, I also want to commemorate those who step up and, thankfully, come home.
Captain Culver is the bravest person I have ever known, and ever loved. He is the son I didn’t give birth to, but the one who, by asking for our daughter’s hand in marriage, became our son. He has seen more in his 29 years here on earth then I can possibly imagine. He has grown into a respected leader. As a soldier, he has said, “I will stand by you.” As we approach Memorial Day, I want to personally dedicate my blog entry to him and say to him, “We will stand by you.”
Ever since Ben came into our lives, our lives have changed; for the better. Because of him, and through him, we have had a glimpse into the lives of the ones who protect our freedom and serve our country. We have developed a profound sense of respect and admiration for those who serve in the miliary, for their families, and for those who have lost their lives as they serve.
And, whether he knows it or not, we think of him every single day.
I think of him when I want to gripe about my job and then I think about what his job calls him to do.
I think of him when it’s crappy weather and I start to complain and then I think about what it’s like for him when he’s in Iraq and it’s 130 degrees and he’s carrying God knows how many pounds of body armour.
I think of him when I’m far from my daughter and I want to whine and then I think about him when, for two of the first three years of their marriage, he was deployed and so far away from the one he loved.
This past year, we had the opportunity to join Ben and Mandy (and Parker!) in Washington, D.C. to cheer them on in the Army 10 Mile Run (Ben and Mandy ran, Parker hung out with us and ate crunchies). During one of our sightseeing excursions, we went to Arlington National Cemetary. It was there that I, once again, caught a glimpse of what the life of a soldier looks like. A soldier looks at Arlington differently then you and I. He visits the resting places of those he served with.
Thank you, Captain Ben Culver, for your bravery, for your commitment and for your heart. We honor you and the ones you served with who lost their lives in service to their country. We will always stand by you.
Love, Patti and Larry