Monday Ava had her first choir concert. She was nervous and excited. Needless to say we all rushed and got our last minute standing room only places after hurrying through the long line of security at the front office.
It was all about the concert when I put it on my calendar. Yes, it was the Veterans Day presentation, but it was Ava’s first choir concert.
Until we got there.
They sang their songs and all the music she’d be singing around the house came together beautifully with all her choirmates.
Then her principal spoke. I love her principal. They have daily assembly before school each day. She always speaks about respect and aiming high at school. She always teaches the kids a great message and I’m so thankful because that was one of the things I was worried about losing when we left Catholic school.
But then she started her message about Veterans Day.
And then she started it “on a kids level” even though, as she told the veterans, “she probably couldn’t do it any justice.” But oh she did, even for this 34 year old who had to fight back tears.
What if your whole family went to Disney World for a month and you had to stand at the gates watching?
What if you couldn’t eat your favorite foods for an entire year and had to eat the same things over and over?
What if you had to sleep on the floor for the rest of the school year?
What if you had to sleep in a room the size of a closet?
What if you couldn’t see anyone you love for an entire year?
I know about the sacrifice that veterans make. The last Christmas my brother and I spent together was the last Christmas we had with my mom-ever- in 2006. I remember being so worried after 9/11 when he had been in the Marines for months. I worried that he was such a newbie that he’d be the first to be carted off to war.
I know what they do. I know how much he was overseas. I know how we waited for his calls. I remember getting them months apart at 3:00 in the morning.
But when she put it like that, I couldn’t help but cry. I couldn’t help but think of him suffering like that. It sounds trite, and things that are first world problems, but who wouldn’t want
those things? But people in the military are tough. They choose to make those sacrifices for us.
I remember him telling me how it was when he was there when people were getting the right to vote. I remember him telling me how it was when they passed out candy and toys.
Ava’s principal had all the veterans present introduce themselves. Dads, grandpas, a mom, the school nurse, a teacher.
She told us that there was nothing we could really could do to show our appreciation that would truly make up for the sacrifices they make. We can pay for a meal without them knowing from a table away if we get a chance. But most importantly, we can say “thank you.” We can walk up to someone in uniform, a retired member proudly wearing a cap commemorating the war he fought in and say “THANK YOU.”
They’d know, she said. They’d know.
They all nodded in agreement.
THANK YOU. Thank you.