Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day and Vince

I really thought long and hard about what I wanted to post in regards to Memorial Day.
I sat in the preschool drop off of my daughter's school today thinking about the significance of Memorial Day.
I started thinking about a text I got last night from my "soul sister", London.
 She was driving to Arlington National cemetery (from Michigan), and she told me that she'd send me some photos...
That's when the tears started coming...
You see, for people like my friend London, Memorial Day isn't a day off for BBQ'ing and celebrating.
Every Memorial Day, London and her mom take the long journey to Arlington National Cemetery to visit SSgt Vincent Bell....her brother...her mother's son...

Nick finally had the courage to visit his friend this year.
There's no words for me to describe the emotion in this photo.
A brother visiting a brother at his final resting place...

 I texted London back this morning when I woke up...

"We will be spending time with friends this weekend, and you better bet there will be some good stories and memories about Vincent that we will share."

I've been seeing ALL kinds of these posts on my newsfeed trying to make all of us feel guilty for wanting to BBQ and enjoy our day off on Memorial Day.
You know what I mean...

In all honesty, if you've ever heard stories about or knew men like Vincent, or my friend Cpl Andrew Brownfield, they were happy people who enjoyed life.
 They liked having a good time, and laughing...and being happy.

I can tell you from the stories I've heard about Vince from Nick that Vince liked a good party, a good BBQ, a good beer, and his motorcycle.
He liked going to the mall in Temecula to check out girls...
He was an amazing artilleryman, and Nick had the privelege of serving together with him from boot camp, in the artillery community, and artillery training school.
He was always smiling.
He was tall, dark, and handsome.
London and Vince.

By fate, through this tragedy, God placed London in my life.
When we decided to name our son after Vince, I wanted to contact his family to let them know that we wanted to keep his memory and his name alive through our son.
Nick was not in a place yet to talk about Vince's death, and was not ready to face his family at that time.
So I took it upon myself to let them know.
 Naming our son Mattis Mark Vincent Romer has been the greatest blessing ever.
You have no idea how mad I get when people get lazy and try and leave out the "Vincent" part of his name.
I get a little pissy, and I make sure to correct them, and tell them that my son's full name is NOT Mattis Mark is Mattis Mark VINCENT Romer.
In a way, it's a blessing when they want to leave that part of his name out, because it gives me an opportunity to tell them why the second middle name is so important to us.
It gives me a chance to talk about Vince, and keep his memory alive through our son.

So this weekend...
Our family will be doing exactly what Vince would be doing.
Enjoying our friends...
Drinking beer...

And I encourage everyone else to do the same.
Live your life, and have fun.
There are too many men and women who will never get a chance to do that anymore.
Do it for them.
Just take a moment to remember them...
Keep their memories alive somehow.

And you bet your ass that we'll be sharing stories about this wonderful man that gave his life for us with our neighbors.

And lastly, I want to congratulate this amazing woman on completing her law degree!
She had to weather some crazy storms in the last few years, but she never gave up.
I'm so freaking proud of her, and I know Vince is too!


  1. I promise, when my blog post goes live on Saturday, I wasn't copying you. It's been scheduled for a few days! ;)
    Always remembering...

  2. As the wife of an Air Force vet, the fallen soldiers are going to be top of mind for us on Monday.

  3. I think for people who have served their time {or are still serving} and know a fallen hero, EVERY DAY is Memorial Day. You know? It affects you in a way you will never forget ... so you are right. You have to keep living, and sure, that includes BBQ and Beers on a day like Monday.

  4. I always have mixed emotions on veteran holidays, a part of me can't help but feel guilty for celebrating but on the other hand you have to think of the bbqs and beer as celebrations FOR those who can't do it themselves. Well said, as always <3

  5. Love this post! Great job putting what so many of us are feeling into words.


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