The Marine pilot chuckled when I showed him the picture my Army son sent me of himself with a giant weapon and a threatening expression.
“I have a picture of myself at the same age exactly like that,” the Marine said. “Everyone does.”
I’m sure those guys look at the picture and see themselves armed and dangerous.
I don’t see it quite that way. I see what every mom sees when she sees her own child in uniform. I see my little boy.
I see the five year old who begged for a Boot Camp birthday party. I see that raggy soldier costume coming through the laundry again. I see his baby face, his rounded cheek, his earnest expression.
I don’t see that when I look at other men and women in uniform. Just my own child.
Except for the last Sunday in September. Except on Gold Star Mother’s Day. That is the day we honor all those mothers whose sons and daughters served and died in uniform so that the world could be a better place. (Read more about Gold Star Mother’s Day and Resources here).
On Gold Star Mother’s Day, I am so aware of the precious lives of our fallen. Of how much their mothers put into them. And how even the love of a mother cannot keep them all safe. Is this what every mother sees?
We honor the courage today of Gold Star Mothers. They may have the ability to now see every person in uniform as some mother’s son or some mother’s daughter. They see them all as one precious life after another. Which is what they really are.
This post originally ran September 29, 2013