An Expression of Gratitude

I admit, I have a soft spot for those who serve in the military. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my father served as a drill sergeant in the Marine Corps. Although he had stepped away from the service long before I was born, he never ceased being a Marine. Some of you probably shudder at the notion of a Marine drill sergeant parenting a family of six children, but I assure you, our household never saw the Van Trappish precision so many assume would be the case.

What I did receive from my father, despite his other flaws, was a respect for our country, a reverence for authority, and absolutely no trace of the Philadelphia area accent that had many around us calling the stuff that comes out of the kitchen faucet “wooder.” (Or would it be “wudder?” It’s a nebulous vowel I never mastered, since to utter such a mispronunciation invited a flick in the head from a man with a notoriously hard middle fingernail.)

Most importantly, though, the ideal I gleaned from my Marine father was the indispensable value of thinking for oneself. There is an irony to the truth that an organization that unmakes who you are when you enlist in order to transform you into a Marine is the place my father solidified his passionate insistence a person must use his own God-given capacity to discern and forge his path. I can still hear his lament as we kids pored over current events assignments and political cartoons with him in the living room. “Civilians!” he’d groan. “They’re all sheep.” He admonished us: maybe we wouldn’t join the military, but for heaven’s sake, we mustn’t become sheep.

I lost my father when I was thirteen, which I think now makes it easier for me than perhaps for other family members to romanticize what he was and to minimize the many things he wasn’t. To this day, if I see uniformed members of the military in the airport or any public place, there’s a little part of me that feels connected to them, and inexplicably, feels a sense of pride in that. I admire those things my father told me about the Marine Corps…what they stood for, how they banded together for the sake of the greater good, how many soldiers sacrificed everything to do the mission they had in front of them. Missions they may not have chosen aside from enlisting in the service, but duties they carried out with pride and honor.

And so, as we near Memorial Day, the legacy the American military has left me is both a patriotic and a personal one. I am deeply grateful for the way so many put aside what comfortable things they might want to do with their lives and instead put their very lives at stake to ensure the rest of us the privilege of freedom. And I am equally grateful for what good the American military was able to do for my father, and hence, pass on to me. I am free, and I am rich, all because of the opportunity organizations like the Marine Corps have offered me, even indirectly, to feel those ways.

Thank you, men and women of the United States Armed Services, and thank you, families who have made the greatest sacrifice, so far as to give their loved ones’ last heartbeats to the cause of freedom.

Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day.

About Rebecca Minor

Rebecca P Minor draws perspective from her pursuit of various art forms, including writing, drawing, and music (singing mostly, though there was a time when a trombone figured in.) A 1997 graduate from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Becky earned a BFA in animation. Since then, she has worked as a character animator, a freelance artist, an art teacher, and most importantly, a wife to her husband Scott and mother of three boys. She is in the process of republishing her current body of work. The first installment of The Windrider Saga, Divine Summons, is available as an ebook novella on Amazon. She also has short stories available under the umbrella of The Windrider Canticles.

15 comments on “An Expression of Gratitude

  1. This is a beautiful tribute, Becky, both to your father and to all the men and women who serve our country so selflessly.
    God bless America and her sons and daughters who support her with their very lives!

  2. I will not pity you for losing a great father. I will respect you more for knowing his importance in your life. I will rejoice with you when you remember when. And inside, my throat clogs at the honor you bestow to the Marine that molded you into the beautiful woman you have become.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us.

    And God bless all the men and women who serve selflessly.

  3. […] Minor at New Authors Fellowship authored this wonderful tribute to those who served this country in uniform. Give it a good […]

  4. Wow, Becky. Beautiful post.

  5. And now I know where your concern and desire for your kids and our country to grow into great thinkers comes from. 🙂 I wonder too how much your father’s influence, even if it proved to be inadvertent, led you to a place where you were searching for faith (and not just having stuff spoon fed to you)? That is probably too heavy a question for a blog, so consider it rhetorical.

    • Lol…too big a question for a comment area of a blog? I suppose there probably is some kind of character limit around here.

      But I do have to agree, even the lousy things that happened in my family life as a kid all worked together is wonky puzzle pieces to slowly assemble the person who I am now. Would I have rathered a smooth, pretty childhood? Maybe on the surface, but I can see, even from my limited perspective now, how the Lord has used many of those trials for good. Some, I’m still wondering about, but of course, God’s under no obligation to enlighten me on everything. Perhaps he’s leaving some conversation pieces open for heaven. 😉

      Thanks for dropping in, Ruth. As always, a thought-provoking comment.

  6. I am the daughter of a solider, and then I married one. So, this post spoke to my very soul. There’s nothing like the passion, prestige, and true patriotism that comes with being raised by/married to a soldier. Thank you for your post, Becky, and for blessing the memory of your father.

  7. An excellent article. There are far too many sheep running around without a Shepherd. They’re willing to follow anything at all except the Shepherd who will lead them home. Many of the people I’ve met who’ve had the strongest faith have been military, kin of military, or disabled. They have the guts to turn away from the popular crowd and do the right thing rather than the popular thing.

  8. This is lovely. Enjoyed reading your memories about your dad.

  9. My Dearest Becky,

    What a beautiful post,it would behoove every American to realize what a sacrafice our armed forces make, all in the name of freedom. We can all take a little time out to thank your Father and all that have given so much so much for us .

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