As we celebrate Memorial Day today, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you.

To all the incredible men and women who have fought to make this country the land of the free and the home of the brave…..

….I salute you.

And for those, they left behind at home?

For those amazing individuals who watched them leave with tears and a heavy heart.

For all those who stood in silent support on the home front with worry and uncertainty and prayers for a safe return…

….this story is for you. 

It’s all about a sailor who loved a girl.

And a girl who loved a sailor…..

…..and her Lee Press-On Nails.

When my husband was my boyfriend he joined the Navy.

At the time, I really didn’t know much about the Navy except that there were ships involved and the uniforms were really cute.

And of course, there were those hats.


Actually when he told me that he joined the Navy all I could think about was how proud I was of him and how brave he was and how cute he was going to look in his uniform.  I didn’t really understand about sacrifice and drills and boot camp and shaved heads and leaving for three months to go away.

Oh—and I didn’t understand how much I was going to miss him.

So when a plane ticket arrived in the mail with an invitation to go and see him graduate from boot camp I was ready.  I planned for three weeks for the perfect “see your boyfriend graduate from boot camp” outfit.

It was royal blue.

With brass buttons and military-style detailing.

And matching blue pumps. And I had my hair highlighted and got a fresh spray tan and new lip liner and new giant medallion style gold earrings that resembled door knockers and a brand new set of bright red spiked Lee Press-On-Nails.

Remember Lee Press-On-Nails?

Weren’t they the best?

They came in a set of 10 nails with glue strips that worked really well at first and then after a while the glue strips stopped working and you had to go all old school with the nail glue.

True glamour at it’s finest.

And so there I stood on that hot afternoon day.

Waiting in my royal blue suit with the brass buttons and military-style detailing and my matching pumps and my highlighted hair and my lipstick and my Lee Press-On-Nails.

That kept falling off.  Or rather in my nervous excitement, I think I kept peeling them off.

And gluing them back on.

Again.  And again.

As I waited for what seemed like forever as first one company and then another and another and another marched through the chain link fence into the parade area.  Craning my neck, I kept my eyes glued on the road to the parade grounds. And finally, there he was. His company was the very last company marched through. I actually heard their boots before I saw them—marching step by step in perfect time. And there in the very center of the sea of gleaming white uniforms was my sailor.

He was the captain of the troop.

The leader.

My heart melted. He was so handsome I thought my heart would burst. His uniform was pressed and polished and his brown eyes twinkled across the parade ground and he was saying all sorts of amazing military things like…..“Left….left….left…..right….left.”

I couldn’t contain my excitement.

He marched them right into the center of that parade ground where they paused with their white Navy uniforms gleaming in the sun.  As they marched across the grass, my handsome sailor turned, faced the crowd and saluted.  And then? He said the words that made my heart beat faster…… “Company……halt.”

Company halt.

That was good enough for me.

I didn’t know there was any more to the ceremony.

I mean, what was left? The company had marched in. They were stopped. And besides, I had been waiting and waiting and waiting.

Without a second thought, I leapt up from my seat and ran down from the stands onto that parade field with my blonde curls and Lee-Press-On-Nails flying in the wind…

…jumped into his arms.

And as he tumbled over and his sailor hat fell to the ground, I heard his faint muffled voice croaking out “Umm……..dismissed.”

And as the sounds of laughter and applause from the crowd surrounded us a sailor fell in love with his girl….

….and she and her Lee-Press-On-Nails fell in love right back.

happy memorial day

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  1. Image for Denise V Cox Denise V Cox

    Well, never fail to leave a tear trailing down my cheek.. in a good way 😉. Enjoy this special day with YOUR hero..

  2. Image for Pam Tanner Pam Tanner

    This was adorable and now I need to find my Kleenex!! So grateful for all who have served and are serving this great country❤️

  3. Image for Shelia P. Shelia P.

    Hi Karianne! Thank you for your story, it was wonderful! I hope more people stop and realize what this holiday is truly all about. My husband before he died, was a military retiree. He served a little over 20 years in the service. I was always so proud of him in his uniform and the selfless job he was doing for our country. My heart today is with the everyone serving their country and with the fallen men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can continue to enjoy our freedoms. Thanks for reminding us what this day is truly about. Thank your husband for his service to this great country of ours! Have a great week ahead! 😊


    This press-on-nails story always brings tears to my eyes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You paint a picture with your words - can just see you running on to the parade area and jumping on your sweet sailor!!!!!


    KariAnne, this is such a beautiful post! I just love to read your story! Only you could tell such a lovely story! May God continue to bless you both. Thanks to your special sailor for all his service! Have a blessed week!

  6. Image for Mary from Life at Bella Terra Mary from Life at Bella Terra

    Oh Karianne! This story reminded me so much of my late husband. He was a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy and every Friday I would go down and watch them parade on the grounds! I am such a sucker for a man in uniform. He was such a handsome guy, especially with those brass buttons and neatly pressed blues. It was a wonderful time in my life. Though he left us at such a young age, just knowing him and loving him was such a gift from God. I have such respect for those men and women in the military and the families who support them. Happy Memorial Day and thank you to your husband for his service.

  7. Image for Jessica Walter Jessica Walter

    About the funniest story ever. My own sailor graduated from boot camp a decade ago and I swear it took forever to find my husband!! I had flown out to see him with my mom and my daughter who was 9 weeks old. It was stinking hot and I was sweating bullets but it was so nice to finally see my husband. I will ever forget that moment. Even after 7 years (at the time) of marriage and 3 kids (at the time lol) he still made my heart flutter.

  8. Image for Michele / Finch Rest Michele / Finch Rest

    That pic with the map outline of the USA and the red heart? Did you know that they call "The heart of it all" - it's even on some auto plates.....cause the heart of the nation (if you think of it as human) is right where Ohio is located! Look at it again carefully - cool huh? SO many people think Ohio is in the midwest - heck even Ohioans do - but look at it and you will see it is much more east than folks even realize.l Anyway, great post - home of the free because of the brave. RIP to our fallen heroes. ♥ ps - actually posted some cute pics of my 2 year old grand in all her glorious pink wearing garb.

  9. Image for Sandi from the Cape Sandi from the Cape

    Dear Karianne, this is such a sweet story. Thank you for bringing to the forefront what this holiday is all about. I am a Daughter of the American Revolution and have a rich history of my family keeping this country safe. Bless you and your military family for all the sacrifices you've made and service to our wonderful country!

  10. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    So glad you made it!!! Congrats to all the military!!! Happy Memorial Day to the United States of America!!!

  11. Image for Mary S Mary S

    You tell the BEST stories! Thank you to your Sailor and all the other sailors and all the other men and women in uniform who serve this country past and present! That includes my Dad Albert, Uncle Reno, Uncle Leo, Uncle Charles, Uncle Fred and Nephew Garrett.. I LOVE THEM ALL!!!!!!!

  12. Image for Susan Susan

    I love this story. Thank you to your sailor and to all our brave military for their service. However today, Memorial Day, we honor our military members who made the ultimate sacrifice- those who didn't come home. I taught my son from a young age the meaning of Memorial Day as not just a bonus day off from school. We participated in placing flags on veterans graves for many years. I didn't come from a military family, but my husbands side is. God Bless each who and served, and grant peace to those we lost.

    1. Image for Liz Bauer Birkeland Liz Bauer Birkeland

      Thank you, Susan, for your very gracious explanation of the correct meaning of Memorial Day. It IS a day to honor the memory of our servicemen and servicewomen who did not return from duty, who made the ultimate sacrifice in service and duty to our country. They honored their fellow countryman by doing so. I love to give thanks to those who have fought for my freedom and protection, recognizing current military members on Armed Forces Day, and military veterans on Veterans Day. As a Gold Star Daughter though, I must share that Memorial Day is not a ‘Happy’ day of celebration for those families who have lost someone in service to our country. I truly appreciate you and your family who work to maintain the memory of our fallen, and continue to recognize this important tradition. God’s blessings to you, Susan.

  13. Image for Peg Peg

    I love this story!! Please thank the twinkling-eyed knight in shining armor for his service and Happy Memorial Day!!! xoxo

  14. Image for Pastor Suzanne Pastor Suzanne

    My dad was a sailor in WWII. My mom stayed home waiting for his return. So many never made it back. But Dad did. And they fell in love. And they got married. And they stayed married till death them did part. I love your story, Karianne. You and yours are blessed indeed.

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