A Soldier's Heart... The Legacy Lives On

As many of you know, my son "B" is infatuated with all things soldiers.  He has a keen sense of justice, thinks strategically, and is a great defender of those that he loves.  His love for people is unmatched.  He is compassion and tough guy all rolled into one.

I saw this walked out best one day in the car.  We were driving and saw a stranded gentleman motorist on the side of the road.  B wanted to stop and help him and was upset with me that I would not pull over.

I had to explain to him a little "Single Mom 101."  My words to him were, "Son, I cannot stop.  Single women do not stop with 2 kids in the car and no men around to help.  It's just not smart."

My 9 year old (at the time) got fully indignant with me as he said, "You DO have a man in the car.  You have ME."  Point taken, buddy.  Point taken.

Whether he ever decides to wear a uniform or not, this child has a the heart and mind of a soldier.  He loves.  He cares.  He defends.  He stands in the gap.

So, every single time B and I talk about soldiers, we talk about a soldier that he has never met.
Truth be known?  I've never met this soldier either... but I feel as though I have.

This soldier's name was Matthew and he gave all for my son's freedom.  He gave all for my freedom... and for yours, too.

I had the honor of working with his Mom, Anne, for years... and we've had many discussions about how our boys, although separated by years and years in age, were so much alike.  So, I can't help but feel like I knew Matthew, because our talks remind me that I'm living with a young version of him.... complete with solider talk, lego building, video game strategy, and more.

But Matthew grew up.... and chose to take his dreams, skills, passion, and vision where the battles were very, very real.

Matthew fought his final battle in Iraq.

Let that sink in for a moment.

A young man who knew what it meant to lay his life down for his country... and there are so many more Matthew's out there.  So many who choose this every day and so many who fight their last battle so that we can walk in freedom.

Matthew left behind a legacy of fighting the good fight.

His amazing mother is now the "soldier", if you will.  No, she doesn't wear a uniform.... but she has the heart of a solider, just like my son does.

See, she stands in the gap.  She "mans up" in the face of less than what is needed for our veterans. She advocates for those who need it and she celebrates fully when those needs are met.  She sees needs and meets them in moments where no one else can or maybe no one else will.  She has a heart the size of Texas and thinks strategically so as to ensure that that love pours into as many lives as possible. She takes every God-given skill and passion she has and pours them into the lives of our veterans and builds up others to do the same.  Most of all?  She has a keen sense of justice and won't take "no" for an answer when it comes to meeting the needs of our men and women who have served.

So, to my sweet friend, Anne.... THANK YOU.  Thank you for raising a hero and for sharing him with us.  Thank you to your family for their service, for we know our soldiers never, never serve alone.  There are always hearts at home serving alongside them.

I know that there are other Matthew's... many other Matthew's... and that days like Memorial Day are to solely say THANK YOU and pay honor and respect to those who have laid their lives down so that we might live in this land of freedom.

You know what else?  I know that there are more Anne's out there, too.  So many mothers, wives, fathers, husbands, and more who put one foot in front of the other and walk out their God-given destinies so that others may walk out there's, too.

That kind of legacy pays honor to our "final battle fought" soldiers every single day.  I don't want to call them "fallen" soldiers, because I don't think a single one "fell" to anything.  I think they rise up in us each time we choose to defend freedom in our day to day lives.  I believe they live on in us as we fight to make it through the tough days and as we celebrate the beauty that still remains on this side of heaven.

My heart likes to think that their final battles continues to be fought through each of us, also.

That we wake up daily and make their sacrifice worthwhile... 
That we not waste one single moment that they fought for, my friends.,,

Real super heroes wear dog tags.  My son knows it and so many other little soldiers do, too.
Today we honor your families as we remember you, but EVERY DAY we wake up and breathe the air of freedom, we thank you and God above for the Matthew's out there who gave all.

ChristieAitken@gmail.com , 2014
Twitter: @ChristieAitken 
Google+: +Christie Aitken 


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