I receive the Navy Times every week. I scan through and read all the latest and greatest and like any newspaper I find myself lost in opinions that read as facts. But there is still one part of the Navy Times I find to be gut wrenchingly honest, The Human Toll. Under this title is a list of service members that have given their life in service to our country. I can’t look away and my eyes swell with tears. Maybe for me it’s a little too real and close to home. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of our service members and their families. They are our friends, our family…they are “us”.
I have wondered who else thinks of these men and women. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. They are friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and neighbors…. they are “us”.
Our world has to go on. I know if it stopped for every passing life, it would never move. Today, people will go to work, kids will go to school and life will go on. But, when I get to this page each week, I allow my world to stop. I read through each name and look over their faces. Sometimes it’s only a few and sometimes it’s pages of military posed glares and soft smiles. I look at their age and my heart skips a beat as I think about what I would have missed if my life stopped at that point. I think about who they were to those that loved them and I quietly say a prayer for their families. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been doing this, but it’s been a while. I feel that by living my life to it’s fullest, I honor them, but I can’t just “turn the page” when I see their faces. I know I will not remember their names tomorrow and for some reason, it makes my heart ache. I can however give them a moment of my life and acknowledge them and pray for their families. I will hug my husband and children a little tighter tonight and I can only hope that by reading this, more will give a moment for those who gave us their all, because they are “us”.