Veteran's daughter pens beautiful letter about true meaning of Memorial Day
As you gleefully fire up your barbecue on Memorial Day for the first time this season, keep in mind that the holiday bears so much more importance than a day off from work.
Suzie Williams, a mother of two and daughter of a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, penned a beautiful letter on the blog Breathe to honor her late father and remind her fellow Americans of the true meaning behind the upcoming holiday.
"Memorial Day, for most Americans, is the benchmark holiday tagged as the start of long summer days, BBQs and sipping our favorite chilled drinks," she wrote.
"Even me, who grew up surrounded by military life, can so easily take this day for granted and forget its purpose – a time to remember and honor our military heroes who gave their lives for the sake of our freedom."
Williams goes on to describe her heroic father, who she says flew over 40 missions in Vietnam and logged over 1,000 flight hours during his years in the service.
"He was as strong as Superman in the eyes of my brothers and me," she wrote.
Unfortunately, Williams' father was killed after his plane crashed in northern Germany in October 1987 when he was just 40 years old.
"My mother, was left a grieving widow with three young children (I was 6, my brothers, 8 and 10) to raise and nowhere to go," she recalled.
Williams said that, although losing her father at such a young age was an unfathomable tragedy, she takes pride in how his legacy lives on through her friends and family.
"To this day, almost 30 years later, my dad's siblings and longtime friends still boast with enthusiasm to have known him, and share their stories of him," she wrote. "My grandfather would glow with pride when I would sit with him in his big chair, as he would tell me stories of his eldest son growing up, winning a state football championship, attending the Air Force Academy, and becoming a fighter pilot."
Most notable, Williams says her father's legacy lives on in her older brothers, both of whom became Marine fighter pilots and have already made incredible sacrifices for their country.
"Between the two of them, they have deployed 11 times. While fighting, they missed the birth of a first born, years of their children's early lives and valuable time with their spouses," she wrote.
They have lost many fellow soldiers and friends through the years and express their own gratitude for the humble sacrifice of their fellow Marines. My big brothers never complain, they only sternly say, "This is why I joined. This is what we train for – to give of ourselves, for God, Corps, Country." And this is mirrored by so many of our soldiers and their families.
Ultimately, Williams says she hopes people will take a moment out of their festivity-packed weekends to celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day -- the men and women who gave their lives for the country we call home.
"Take a moment this Memorial Day, this week, to lift our soldiers up in prayer to our Heavenly Father. Pray for the families whose sacrifices are often sadly forgotten," she implored.
"Say thank you to soldiers and their spouses when you see them. Serve them as they have served you. Ask to pray for them. Remind them who they are fighting (fought) for, and that they are not forgotten. Our military families need our prayers and our gratitude. Honor them."