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More Than a Long Weekend

LEWISTON – Memorial Day is more than simply a day off work and a “long weekend” camping and celebrating. It is about the brave and bold men and women who sacrifice their lives to ensure the freedom of the country we know and love.

Growing up, I always had a stronger feeling of pride associated with the red, white, and blue flag in the sky. As I waved goodbye to my dad with tears in my eyes each time he left for deployment, fear was quickly replaced with pridefulness, as I knew his bravery supports the freedom we enjoy.

My dad signed up for the United States Army fresh out of high school like many others. Little did he know, a few years later, he would have a daughter that would spend the rest of her life looking up to him for that very choice. Having a dad who is willing to put his own life on the line to ensure Americans like myself can walk down the street every day without fear is incredible.

I was six years old during my dad’s first deployment in 2004. I was home telling everyone I could that he was a superhero. My family would tell me stories of how my dad was in big air-conditioned office playing cards with his friends. Meanwhile, he was on the front lines in the battle of Fallujah, only getting the chance to communicate with his family every few months for a mere couple of minutes, on a satellite phone, with a hefty 10-second delay.

However, I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to run to my dad in a big auditorium, a little over a year later and give him the world’s biggest hug. Memorial Day is about the little girls who never got that opportunity. It is about the ones who morn their heroes that left too soon.

In February of 2007, my little brother was born and a few weeks later, we were saying goodbye to my dad again. I was eight years old this time and was confused why my mom was much more stressed and saddened at this goodbye, compared to the last. However, looking back I see it. Both of my parents were superheroes this time. My mom raised my newborn brother and I with a plethora of love and care, all by herself. She never let me worry about my dad, always assuring me he was safe. She turned off the news any time it found its way to our television and jumped at every ring on the doorbell. Meanwhile, my dad was busting down doors in a foreign country, and wondering if he would see his newborn son again.

We were still the lucky ones in this case. A quick year later, my entire family packed in an auditorium to watch my dad march in. He got to see more than just a wrinkled photo of my baby brother again. Memorial Day is about the mothers who got the bone-chilling ring on their doorbell from two men, dressed in blues, informing her she will be a single mother, as her husband was killed in action.

Through countless other deployments, moving to new states, and so much more, the pride I have to say I am the daughter of 1 SGT Timothy Lloyd has only grown with time. Not many children can say their father is a hero to the entire country, but I can. He has thought me to be the strong individual that I am. He has taught me that if you believe in something, fight for it. If you want something, do everything you can to get it. If you are 10 minutes early, you’re on time, and if you are on time, your late. To laugh at the little things and to live each day to the fullest, because you never know when it will be your last.

Now, in 2022, my little brother is 15 years old and no longer that little. He just passed his driver’s test on Thursday and is already working on his pilot’s license. As he is in Civil Air Patrol right now, he has aspirations to follow the big boot marks my father has made and plans to join the United States Air Force after college.

So, when you are enjoying your extra day off work on Monday, I challenge each of you to take a second to think about the brave and bold Americans that didn’t make it home. Think about the sacrifices made every day to ensure we can be truly free. Think about the little girls that lost their superhero at a young age and spends the rest of their days missing them. And think about the individuals like my father and brother who proudly step up for our country.