For many families, Memorial Day is a somber day of remembrance.
I don’t pretend to understand how devastating it is for military families who lose a loved one. Luckily all of my brothers came home, and my son too.
The closest I came to experiencing it (or ever want to) was in September 2014.
My son was stationed on the USS Carl Vinson as an F-18 Fighter pilot. He was tasked with leaving his family; his wife and two small daughters, to put himself in harms way in service of our country.
During the 10-month long deployment, tragedy struck too often and each time we got a call. But one call in particular, I will never forget.
On September 12, 2014, John and I were out for lunch at our favorite burrito place when my cell phone rang. Ever since Noah deployed; whenever my daughter-in-law called, my heart would skip a beat for a second, and I would answer immediately.
I knew full well there could be a chance we would be getting “that call.”
When I answered, I could tell by her voice the news wasn’t good. The first words out of her mouth were, “Noah’s okay, but…”
I listened as she told me two F-18’s went down off the Carl Vinson and a pilot in Noah’s airwing was lost.
There is a phone chain that is implemented when this sort of thing happens. All communications from the ship stop except for the one call to alert the top of the chain of the incident.
Each person then calls their list and it trickles down to family members. I am the first on Amber’s list.
It is a brilliant system that alerts the family back home before reading about it on the news; and with a tightening in my chest, I stayed calm as Amber gave me the details she knew.
When I hung up the phone, I started crying.
I couldn’t stop crying. It was the kind of sobbing where I couldn’t catch my breath and it hurt to my core. Sitting at that table with my half-eaten lunch in front of me, all I could do was try to breathe through uncontrollable tears.
John held me and kept saying, “It’s not Noah, honey. It’s not Noah.”
When I could catch my breath I said, “He is someone’s Noah.”
That was the closest I’ve come to understand what some families have experienced because someone they loved decided to put themselves in harm’s way for our country.
So this Memorial Day my heart goes out to Nathan Poloski’s family, and all of the other families who know the true meaning of sacrifice.
They will never be forgotten.
Please add a comment with a name, squadron or memory of anyone you would like to honor today.