Dear sir, thank you for giving your life so that I might live mine.
I dearly hope I live my life in such a way to make you glad.
The knowledge that I can sleep soundly tonight because others stayed wide awake in those miserable trenches, fills me with more gratitude than I could ever express.
Thank you that I only grin and twirl and wave when a plane goes overhead. Thank you that the loud bang and fizz of fireworks is a victorious, exciting sound to my ears.
I think you would’ve smiled if you could have seen us the other night
on Memorial Day
standing on the roof of my friend’s van, underneath the open sky, singing into the wind at the top of our lungs
without a thought of curfews or danger of bombs or any twinge of fear.
You made that simple, sweet, priceless joy possible.
Oh, and we sang about you. To say thank you for fighting for us, young Willie.
I thought of you when I laughed so wonderfully hard at a little joke that I couldn’t get my breath for a while. I wondered about your laughter, what it sounded like and if it would ripple through the air very often.
The small toy soldier on my desk reminds me to pray for the rest of the brave lads fighting still today, and makes me wish I could have met you and thanked you in person. I want to live every second soaking up the glorious sunshine I can enjoy because of you, remembering your immense sacrifice, and truly living and treasuring each breath I am gifted with.
I know it is what you would want. Because I believe that is what you fought for…
the privilege to watch the sky for soaring birds,
the unshattered libraries and grocery stores full of anything we could possibly want to devour,
the hug between friends who haven’t seen each other in so long but are safely reunited,
reading stories of valiant heroes through the years who gave their very best,
goodbyes to him being half-glad because we both know it is near and only temporary.
I wish you could be here to live in this paradise of opportunities too. You would love to see the freedom you helped create. Though I miss you terribly, it ended up being a happy Memorial Day. We got to smile and play and do the life things– that you gave everything to make possible for so many. I will never forget your service. You made the day happy.
“Thank you” are two words that are completely inadequate for what I really want to say. But, thank you. : )
And, sir, I am very much looking forward to meeting you.