It’s Memorial Day – a holiday I look forward to every year. It is the threshold of summer – a long weekend of planting flowers, grilling outside and serious family fun time. And I get to wear my white jeans again – a fashion rule my mother instilled in me at a very early age. If only the holiday lasted a little longer.

But there are so many mothers who can’t wait for this day to be over.

More than 4,000 actually. Mothers of brothers……..and sons and daughters who have died in the war in Iraq. And I can’t imagine this holiday is anything but gut wrenching for them

Like so many civilians here at home, I am shamefully numb to this war on a daily basis. I listen to the news, shake my head, and head off to the next little league game. Maybe because it has gone on for so long. Maybe because it has been waged so far away. Anyone who knew me in the weeks following September 11 might remember that I wouldn’t go out to eat – or take my kids to the grocery store. I was sure terrorists were going to blow us up. The threat seemed very close and very real then. Now it seems like it is taking place on some other planet. But not for the families with soldiers.

You can debate all you want about the justification for the war — but the soldiers who died did so believing they were fighting for America’s safety. For my children’s safety. And yours. If they didn’t stand up to protect us, who would?

This morning Noah and Chase crawled into our bed for a snuggle before the day began. There isn’t a safer feeling than lying next to your children all warm and cozy, listening to them breathe and stroking their heads as the day wakes up outside your window. And I think that every US soldier who died in Iraq – every number from 1 to 4,082 – had a mother who once held them this close and prayed that nothing would ever harm them. And suddenly the war feels just a breath away.

If you, like me, were looking forward to Memorial Day this year – remember that we are truly blessed. I will take some quiet time today and think the most thankful thoughts for those soldiers… and their mothers. I hope this war ends soon. And when I slip into my white jeans, you can bet I’m going to add some red and blue to go with it.

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