Memorial Day – Remembering and Looking Forward

1 Jun

So many days are easy to overlook. We forget that each day is worth celebrating.  Each day is worth remembering.  But there are a few days that stand out as special.

My Pop-Pop was in the Army in World War II.  Somewhere my mom still has his old army jacket and hat.  I wish I could put my hands on the photo of him and my sister wearing the jacket and hat and saluting.  It was such a beautiful moment – and just when I was beginning to get interested in photography.  I wish that interest had piqued just a little sooner.  Pop-Pop would tell us stories about his time in the Army – about walking across parts of Europe, the cost of cigarettes, and the buddies he met along the way.  He was a good man, a good soldier.  I’ve always thought Memorial Day is special because of him.  Because of all the men and women who fight to defend our country, who go on missions of humanitarianism, rescue, and who keep our freedom safe.

However, Memorial Day has taken on new meaning for me this year, as I imagine it will from now on.  My sister joined the Navy.  Yep, that’s right.  My little sister.  Rachel is an ensign in the Navy.

She has always dreamed of being a doctor.  It is the only thing I can ever remember her taking about wanting to do with her life.  If you know my sister, you know that when she decides she is going to do something, it will absolutely happen.  She is an extremely persistent person.  She knows what she wants, and she has a plan for how she is going to achieve her goals.  Rachel is the hardest working person I have ever known in my life.  She studies for hours upon end, and is not happy with anything less than her absolute best.

Rachel applied to a bunch of medical schools, prepared for interviews, wrote essays, and studied for the MCAT.  And she got in to Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  But medical school is expensive.  Paying for it herself would have meant taking out loans, which would have been adding up for the next four years.  So, being the resourceful girl that she is, she decided to find another way to pay for school.  She had already been looking into the options of going into the military in order to help pay for school.  And so, after a lot of thought and deliberation, it was decided – she signed on with the Navy, got a sweet signing bonus, a monthly paycheck, and medical school paid for.  She’ll graduate from medical school and go into her residency with no debt.  She’ll owe the Navy 4 years of service when she’s done.

My sister is an officer in the Navy.  I am more proud of her than I can express.  She’s a beautiful, smart, kind, loving, hard-working woman.  And she will not stop until she has reached her goals (and even then, I doubt that she’ll stop).  That’s the kind of officer the Navy is getting in my sister.  If you ask me, they’re really lucky.  We all are.

Rachel, I’m blessed to have you as my sister.  I love you and I’m so proud of you.  I know that you can achieve anything you dream of.  Keep dreaming big.  The big dreams are the ones worth achieving.  And know that if there is anything I can do to help you reach those dreams, I will do it.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

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