A military mom comes to understand what our national anthem truly means.
Posted in , Feb 28, 2017
It had been a few weeks since our enlisted son was back home for good. His military service commitments were complete, and he was now a civilian. He and his wife were staying with us for a few weeks while they waited on their apartment to become available. I was trying so hard not to be a pest, but I couldn’t seem to quit reaching out to touch him every time he came within reach.
He was patient with me, but there was still some awkwardness as we all adjusted to the man he’d become. One evening we decided to go to an outdoor concert. It was a hot July, and there were lots of patriotic offerings during the evening’s program. But one song will be forever etched in my heart.
As we relaxed in our outdoor chairs, the opening refrain of the Star Spangled Banner began. Our son immediately rose to his feet and stood at attention. Others around us also began to get to their feet, but none were as intense as our son.
I stood beside him, still, and studied his face. Although his eyes stared straight ahead, they were obviously seeing something other than the park around us. My mind began to replay small bits of conversations we’d had as he described things he’d seen and done while on deployment.
Watching him brought tears to my eyes as I realized just what the national anthem meant to him—and to all who have served so bravely. It’s not just a song. It’s the embodiment of why they joined. The notes personified the sacrifice, the hardship, the valor and even the loss he had personally experienced.
That day has stayed with me ever since. Every single time I hear “The Star-Spangled Banner,” I’m reminded that it’s much more than a song. It’s the musical illustration of why those in our military have chosen to sacrifice so much.