If we have no loved ones in the military, one of the most patriotic things we can do is to get to know families who do.
I learned this the hard way.
In the first decade of the Afghanistan War, I attended a Memorial Day service honoring Ohio veterans. One of the young servicemen was a friend’s son who had just completed his second tour of duty. He was a reserved man who never sought the limelight, and so he reluctantly stepped forward when called.
I watched him as he stood there, shyly toeing the grass, and then I looked over at his mother. Her head was lowered, and her shoulders shook. She was sobbing, even though her boy had made it home.