Sleep in Peace, Benjamin

This holiday weekend, I am awash in a sea of red, white and blue images, along with all kinds of patriotic verbiage. 

When I arrived at Greensboro, FL, yesterday morning to run the Firecracker 5000 Race, I was greeted by crosses lining the streets memorializing citizens lost in the line of duty.

This morning, Facebook bloomed with quotes celebrating freedom, and AOL offered a red, white, and blue “theme of the day.”  One of my favorite Facebook statuses was Jess’s, which featured a lyric from the Toby Keith song “American Soldier”: 
 “I’m out here on the front lines, so sleep in peace tonight.”
Tomorrow, Wayne Kevin will compete in the “Freedom Springs Kids Triathlon.”  Here’s a picture from last year:

I loved the “Americana” feel of my morning in Greensboro yesterday.  I loved the thoughts and sentiments shared among all of us in the Facebook community today.  I loved the family get-together in Thomasville and the minor yet fun backyard fireworks ceremony we shared.  I love the anticipation of sharing another gorgeous North Florida morning with my son tomorrow enjoying the kids’ triathlon and closing out Independence Day weekend.

Most of all, though, the one moment that moved me most this weekend happened this morning.  I had just turned on CNN, and the reporter was interviewing some soldiers in Afghanistan (at Bagram Air Force Base).  Had the soldiers not all been in fatigues, and the video feed not been so erratic, the scene could have easily been mistaken for some coworkers having a care-free get-together on American soil and daring each other to soak their boss in the dunk tank.  When the reporter gave a few soldiers the opportunity to say something to the folks back home, a female soldier sent all her love and wishes to “my five year old son Benjamin, in Wisconsin.” 

I’ll just say it plain and simple; I would find it almost unbearable to be a world away from my child, for months on end.  Agree or disagree with the politics of it all, my heart breaks for this mother and child who are separated.  That mom/soldier has my empathy and gratitude. 

Sleep in peace tonight, Benjamin.