Today’s blog entry was submitted by an Army mom, Ms. Sandra Hatem. Take a moment to read her touching account of how one Sunday with her son in the Army Clothing store at Ft. Meade, MD turned into a moment she will remember forever.
A sunny morning at Fort Meade, my Son Pfc Albert A. Hatem requested that we go to “Clothing” to purchase his new ribbon to add to his gala uniform. I happily walked into the store to acquire this ribbon. The more ribbons, the sign of a progressing career in the military and hopefully in the near future a new promotion! Add it to the list of accomplishments that my Son has.
As I wandered through the aisles of uniforms, supplies, souvenirs I watched how skillfully my Son looked at those ribbons. Surely his mind was focused on impending advancement. I saw and bared witness to his new life, the respect and love he has for serving his Country. It is truly the one place on earth he wants to be! As he located the ribbon one for his uniform and one for the shadow box at home we approached the cash register to pay. There on line was a woman who had a cart loaded with every item of a gala “Blues” uniform, I asked her if she was buying the uniform for her Son! Quietly and eloquently she told me that this was her job, to purchase uniforms for casualties!
My heart started to beat faster and my hands became cold! My first impulse was to grab the uniform and pray! I prayed that this brave man would reach the gates of eternal peace. If he had fought for peace on earth I wanted him to be sure to have it in heaven! The tears came flowing uncontrollably …this is real. So many of our service men and women die fighting overseas for our freedom here. I remembered how proud I was when I saw my Son in his “Blues: for the first time, he seemed bigger and he has such a presence when he wears this uniform! I remember getting a letter from him when he was in boot camp, “Today I picked up my gala uniform I will not wear it until I dress for you on Family Day, I want to savor the moment!”
I now savored the moment of this fallen soldier! If I could speak to him and his family I would want them to know how I caressed his uniform and I prayed at its side. I would want them to know how helpless I felt before it. I would want them to know how proud it made me feel to be standing before the uniform of a hero! I would want them to know how his proud brother my Son stood behind me also a witness to his bravery! I offered to pay for it surely a small price for the big price he paid for our freedom! The woman politely refused my offer and said “Honey we pay for their first uniform and their last”. She thanked me for praying and thanked me for my Son’s service! I paid for my purchases and quickly left.
But as I walked out of the store the tears quickly returned, and then came the sobs. A tightness overcame my entire body and I lost it! My Son wrapped his arms around me and said “Mom we don’t cry for the fallen here, they die with courage, valor, respect and most of all with pride for their Country”. Yes it struck me this is what every man and woman here and at every Post does. They conduct themselves with courage, valor, respect and pride for their Country! I pulled myself together. My composure I regained and proceeded not to feel sad. I could not feel sad instead an overwhelming sense of pride came over me! For every loss of human life in the military there is a sense of pride that all American share, a sacrifice made for the freedom of others! Thank you soldier for your sacrifice for me, I know now that you stand guard at the gates of heaven!
I will continue to pray for you and others like you, and I will pray for those who serve, who give of themselves for all of us! I will continue to be strong and proud for my Son with every day of his service, with every ribbon, with every accomplishment. Thank you for your service!
As always, we invite you to sent us your Army stories (at ocpa.osmd [AT] us.army.mil) to be featured on the Army Live blog.