Monday, November 21

A humbling perspective

On Friday, as the kids and I waited at the airport for Dave to get home from New York, a man approached me and if I was Mrs. -----. I said, "No, but I could be. Did I win something?" He proceeded to tell me that he was waiting for a soldier returning home from Afghanistan. He had never met the soldier's wife but knew they had 2 small children and, since Noah and Natalie kept asking "how long before dad gets home?", he thought maybe I was the soldier's wife. Well, now my "did I win something" didn't seem to funny anymore. He then told me that the soldier coming home had served with his son in Afghanistan and then pointed to a picture pinned to his jacket and said, "My Jesse didn't make it home! He was killed last November." I shook his hand and, with tears in my eyes, thanked him for his sacrifice and how grateful I was for his family and his son's sacrifice. He had such a positive attitude towards the experience. He explained to me, "How can I be sad? My son saved 3 men's lives before he died. The last man he saved had 3 kids at home - 5, 3, and 3 months. The soldier had never met his baby and because of my son, that soldier saw his child. How great is that and how can I be sad knowing that my son did that for them?" I was so awe struck by his positive outlook on the situation.

As we were leaving the airport, I stopped to shake his hand and say "thank you" one last time. As I was walking away, he yelled for me and handed me a flag he was holding. He said, "I want you to have this. This is one of the flags that flew at my son's grave. I want you to have it - for your kids to have it so they'll know the story of my Jesse. His name is Jesse Snow. He's from Fairborne and he was given a silver star. Look for his story." I was so honored to be given that flag.

I told Noah and Natalie "That man's son died while fighting that bad guys and he was helping to keep you safe. He saved 3 of his friends' lives before he died!" Now, when Natalie comes into my room, she will see the flag and sometimes yell, "THE AMERICAN FLAG!!!!" I hope someday my kids will have the full perspective of what that flag means and the sacrifices that go with our safety and freedom. It was instilled in me as a kid and I intend to instill that in my kids, too. I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet John Snow and hear Jesse's story.