“Thank you” never gets old (Memorial Day)

May 30th, 2011 § 8 comments

Each year my letter to troops stationed overseas is similar. Each year I question whether I should write something new, if it’s “cheating” to say the same thing. In the end I realize that thank you never gets old, it never needs to be re-written. Thank you doesn’t have an expiration date.

This year we went to buy items for the care package drive sponsored by the Darien Little League. Volunteers collect supplies including toiletries, non-perishable food, and games and send them to soldiers far from home. While the supplies are important, and more than 500 boxes will go, the most important items sent are the letters. The letter I sent this year has the same theme: bravery– chance or choice?

May 28, 2011

Dear Servicemen/women,

My family and I are sending you some supplies on this Memorial Day Weekend. We want you to know that we have not forgotten you or the sacrifice you are making every day to be away from your own families and in harm’s way. It’s not much, but perhaps knowing you are in our hearts and minds will help.

Four years ago I was diagnosed with cancer (I am now in remission). When I was going through treatment, people called me brave. I didn’t deserve it. “Brave” was not a word you used about someone like me. I had gotten cancer by chance and I dealt with it, the best I could.

But soldiers? You are brave. You have a choice—you put your lives on the line after making a conscious decision to do so. You know the danger and you do it anyway. To me, that is true bravery, true heroism.

It feels good to say it, to confess it. I have been called a word I haven’t earned.

Seeing danger and making the choice to proceed anyway is precisely how I define bravery. We all find ways to deal with the fear of death. We know the uncertainty that lies ahead. We see the bravery in others before we will see it in ourselves.

What underlies bravery: chance or choice? Can both? Are we just hesitant to see the quality in ourselves? Are we just modest? Do we just act the way we need to, to get the job done?

I think when you choose to throw your hat in the ring, that choice counts for something. That makes you brave. That’s what makes soldiers heroes. Happy Memorial Day to you. And thank you for your continued service to our country.


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§ 8 Responses to “Thank you” never gets old (Memorial Day)"

  • Anonymous says:

    Beautiful, Lisa. And well said. One little thing. You are brave, too, even if it is in a different context.

  • Beth Arnold says:

    I forgot to tell you who I was in the preceding comment. xoxBeth

  • As usual you nail it, Lisa. Perfect expressed and I thank you for this. Today is a day to recognize these brave troops who made the choice to serve on our behalf. However, I do agree with Beth about you, Lisa. You are one of the bravest women I know in your choice to go public and share so generously with others. You make a difference. Thank you.

  • Lindsey says:

    What a simply marvelous tradition – I think this is great. Just last night Whit asked me what Memorial Day was about and I told him, and realized I ought to be talking about this a lot more. xox

  • auntie_jenn says:

    bravery is the ability to respond in the face of adversity and shouldn’t be limited to any one group. soldiers, firefighters, police easily come to mind, but don’t box yourself out of something you clearly deserve.

  • What a great thing you & your family have done. Thanks for the planting the seed. If my chemo-adled brain allows, I’m going to borrow your tradition.


  • denise says:

    Beautiful. And like Lindsey said–a tradition I’d like to adopt. xoxo

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