Memorial Day 2014
Last Monday, Zach and I found our way on an impromptu trip to Wilmington for a Memorial Day ceremony on the USS North Carolina Battleship. (Yes, you read that correctly: not at the USS North Carolina Battleship... on the USS North Carolina Battleship.) We hadn't made any plans prior to Monday afternoon, but when we discovered the ceremony taking place two hours from where we live, we immediately hopped in the car and began driving.
We've been to the USS North Carolina before (view our first trip in spring of 2012 here), but the immenseness of the battleship never gets old. The USS North Carolina is the most decorated battleship from WWII and fought in every major naval offensive in the Pacific theater.
The governor of North Carolina spoke during the ceremony, as well as the current commander of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (the base that Zach was stationed out of for a little over two years). The ceremony also included military musical arrangements by the North Carolina Army National Guard Band, a memorial wreath cast into the waters, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.
Some might think it a little crazy for us to drive four hours round-trip for a Memorial Day ceremony, especially when there are other ceremonies and services nearby, but we are both SO glad we decided to go to the USS North Carolina (and definitely plan to be back next year)!
Our relationship with the military means that Memorial Day hits home a little more with us than most people. While I am incredibly proud of my husband and his service to our country, I have the opportunity to tell him that every day... so Memorial Day isn't about him. Memorial Day is not Veterans Day or Armed Forces Day. Memorial Day is about remembering the 276 members of the United States military who were killed in Afghanistan during the time my husband was deployed there. Memorial Day is about paying respects to the seven members of my husband's unit - 1st Battalion, 9th Marines - who were killed just last spring. And Memorial Day is about honoring all of the other men and women who have died in service to this country.
I think that's why we loved the ceremony at the USS North Carolina so much. It was refreshing to be surrounded by so many other individuals who clearly understood why we were there, and it was a beautiful tribute to those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.