I couldn't help but overhear. We were out for supper this weekend and two tables directly behind us struck up a conversation with each other.  After a few minutes of listening in, I stole a glance over my shoulder and the scene was exactly as I had pictured.

Two older couples, probably in their 70s, decked out in their 4th of July gear. The women wore clothes decorated with stars and stripes while the men both wore those tall, black Veteran caps covered in ribbons and pins. I could picture them on their way to a 4th of July event at the local VFW post or maybe a night of fireworks with the grandkids.

The men had connected, as I've often seen military folks do, and were swapping stats. Years they were in, where they were stationed, which equipment/plane/helicopter they used — and how they had eventually landed in Northwest Arkansas.

They chatted like old friends. And I sat there and smiled. A sad smile. Because there are far too many soldiers and veterans who deserve to have that conversation when they're 70, but never will.There are far too many who will never get the chance to tell old stories and reminisce about 'the good ole days'.

Independence Day has evolved into a long weekend of family gatherings, food, relaxation – and storytelling. Some of the stories are told by retired veterans reminiscing about military adventures and days gone by. Other stories are "remember the time…" tales of holiday weekends and vacations past, shared among friends between bouts of laughter. And still others are told by the people left behind. We tell the stories that fallen soldiers – and friends – can no longer tell.  

We had a lot of fun this weekend. Spent time with friends, family and enjoyed lots of good food. We laughed a lot and relaxed a bit. We tried our best to live this weekend as part of a story worth retelling. What's your story?

4th of July – 2011 from Sarah Hood on Vimeo.

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