By Cathy Rigg
Executive director, Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce
Last month I traveled to Olympia for the Washington State Chamber of Commerce Executives annual conference.
As I drove south on I-5, I realized I was approaching Fort Lewis, home of the 5th Stryker Brigade. Appropriately, the song “American Soldier” came on the radio as I drove under the freeway overpass and bridge covered in yellow ribbons. Since the 5th Stryker Brigade deployed from Fort Lewis last summer, 26 have been killed and countless others wounded – some with lifelong injuries. That week was also the same time that seven of those slain soldiers were coming home to America.
I reflected for the remainder of my drive how blessed we are to live in a country where we can drive what we want, where we want, have the jobs we enjoy, worship how we please and send our kids to great schools that we choose, all with the security of a wonderful country to help protect us.
The drive back up I-5 a few days later was even more emotional as a U.S. soldier in uniform was solemnly marching across that ribbon-draped bridge, carrying a flag at half staff honoring his fallen comrades.
This past February I laid my father, Roy T. Melson, corporal with the United States Marine Corps, to rest at Tahoma National Cemetery. Tahoma is also known as the place “where heroes rest.” Today, Wednesday, is Veterans Day and I will be visiting my dad and the other heroes at Tahoma reflecting once again on my blessings and freedoms, thanking Dad for all he did for me, our family and our country.
As a thankful American, please take time today, on Thanksgiving Day, next month and regularly, to thank our military, veterans and their families for their unselfish duty to protect all that we cherish. Never take it for granted.
I miss you Dad and will always love you.