The yellow linoleum and dark paneled cupboards bore testament to the age of the kitchen and its want for a remodel. I sat, gangly frame perched on a wooden stool as my brother broke the news. He would be enlisting in the military–the Marine Corps, to be specific. As he explained his plans to family member after family member, they each, in turn tried to persuade him away from his choice. He was determined to go and would not be swayed. I was twenty-one when Patrick left for Parris Island and as I watched him promise to support and defend the Constitution, my own son swirled in my belly. I cried as a sister for her only brother, with no comprehension of how my mother must have felt.
A month or so later, as most mothers do, I held my wee son in my arms and in that moment I cried not only for my brother, but as a mother knowing that I could never let this little boy go. And yet every day, across the world, mothers give their sons, wives give their husbands and sisters give their brothers so we can be free. Every soldier that has shouldered the mantel of protecting the US from the War for Independence in the eighteenth century until today has been someone’s child. My blond-haired, light-eyed boy looks at me and all I can think about this Independence Day is that Avery Brown entered the Civil war at the age of eight years and eleven months. He was only accepted because he lied about his age and said he was twelve.
I know we don’t allow eight and twelve year olds to enter the military, but the only difference between twelve and eighteen is six years and my goodness, don’t tell a mother sending her boy away that he is old enough, because there are not enough years in all of the millenia combined to justify sending our sons and daughters to war and yet we know in our hearts the same ardent love for freedom burns in their breasts as did in Patrick Henry’s as he exclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
The fortitude, the determination that brought our patriots to the door of death and the fervor that stanchions them against the buffets of the enemy is not born overnight. No, it is cultivated in the heart of a young boy, by moms just like you. No one births their son or daughter and hopes that one day they will pay the ultimate sacrifice, but I humbly thank and acknowledge each and every mother whose life is now divided into a before and after narrative. Thank you for raising such a loyal, determined man or woman, that they would embody the truth of John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
This Independence Day we here at The MOB Society say a resounding, “Thank You” to all the members of the armed forces and emergency services who daily sacrifice their lives for our freedom and safety. And to the mothers and fathers who have raised them, we say “Well done and thank you.”
We’d love to acknowledge your family member if they have served in the military or emergency services. Please leave a comment on this post with their name and branch. Thank you and God Bless America.