Last Monday, Memorial Day, Lisa inspired me to do something different, something special that would teach our boys and remind us adults about the real meaning of this day. And so, about sundown, we found ourselves at a little mountain cemetery almost hidden in the shadows of the pines, sagebrush and yucca plants.
We were there to visit the final resting place of Lance Corporal Chad Hildebrandt U.S.M.C. As Lisa, the boys and I laid flowers on his grave, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of a life well lived. Lisa and I talked about how Chad’s sacrifice in Operation Iraqi Freedom has blessed and inspired so many and continues to do so even today. It would seem that laying down one’s life to help buy freedom for a stranger on foreign soil would be enough, but it doesn’t stop there.
My song, For the Freedom, was partially inspired by this man. I know my own son’s choosing to join the Marine Corps was influenced by Chad’s service. This life that lasted only 22 years and 5 days has birthed friendships and bonds that will last forever. A career in teaching rose up and grew from a mother‘s love and grief. Now countless children reap the benefits of this woman’s love and nurturing, not the least of whom is my 3-year-old son, Ethan. And on and on it goes.