Today is the day the United States of America celebrates Memorial Day. It is a day where we appreciate our freedoms while remembering those who have fallen, paying the ‘ultimate price’ for our freedom. My hubby and I celebrated the day by spending quiet time with some of our best friends, doing the things that most Americans do on this date – grilling burgers, laughing, and just having some great times together.
While driving home on this date, I noticed cars parked in lots where families are celebrating Memorial Day. That got me to thinking about Memorial Day, and the ‘celebration of life’ happening today in Charleston, SC.
Approximately two weeks ago, a brave 21-year-old soldier, Army Pvt. Cheziray Pressley, a resident of Charleston, paid that price in Afghanistan. According to sources, he had been in Afghanistan only three days, and he had made the statement to a few relatives that he might not come back from Afghanistan.
When I heard the news of his loss, I placed a brief statement in the Mail Call newsletter I write for the local VFW. Although I never had the honor to meet this bright young man, I have had him on my mind many times. Today was his funeral, held at the Charleston Area Convention Center, appropriately on Memorial Day — to honor our loss. To all of his family and friends, I would like to say thank you for rearing a young man who wore his uniform proudly and went to a war zone recognizing that he might not return. My heart aches for all of you, especially his precious daughter who will not have the ability or freedom to know the father Pvt. Pressley would become.
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially to a war, but freedom is not free. Sometimes we must pay the ‘ultimate price’ to have our freedoms. Many Americans take their freedom for granted, and on a date like Memorial Day we must take a moment to say thank you and to remember all the soldiers who we have loved and lost.
If you are a Veteran, as my husband is, I say thank you. I appreciate all that you endured just so I can dance my fingers across a keyboard and write what my heart possesses. Living with a veteran who has fought in a war zone is not easy. We the wives, friends, and relatives cannot understand what happened. Over the years I have learned not to ask, and I’ve learned to have patience whenever a slight look or word sends my husband into a rage. I have learned to turn and walk away – to give him his space so he may recognize the rage he blew into was not directed at me…it’s simply how he copes. Sometimes it is easy to walk away — other times, I’d like to retaliate — but that would only create a ‘war of the roses.’
My wish for all on this day is to take a moment to appreciate our veterans, and those we have lost. Let us not forget freedom is not free, and sometimes we must lose great people, just to be able to — F-R-E-E! Today we honor Pvt. Pressley on this Memorial Day. Thank you for your service. You will be missed.
Happy Memorial Day. Thank you all for your service and for our freedom!