Here it is, Valentine's Day 2010. Naturally, I feel so fortunate to have two very special Valentines: my husband of nearly 15 years, Kerry and our darling 10-year-old son Kyle.
OK, our boy dog Max makes the list, too.
And on this sweetheart of a day, I'm also feeling quite grateful for all those who are near and dear to my heart: my parents, my in-laws, my siblings, my nieces and nephews, my wonderful friends.
Oh, someone else is on my mind today, too. A true hero whom I never had the pleasure to meet. His name is Ed Freeman.
I learned Ed's story from an e-mail message that was forwarded to me from my pal Charleen Scott who grew up in Trumbull County.
I verified through snopes.com, an urban myth busting Web site, that although some of the details couldn't be verified thoroughly, the story is true, and Ed Freeman indeed received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush during the summer of 2001.
Here's the tale:
"You're a 19-year-old kid. You're critically wounded and dying in the jungle in the La Drang Valley.
"It's Nov. 11, 1965, and you've been fighting in Vietnam for what seems like an eternity.
"Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8-1 and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the Medi-Vac helicopters to stop coming in.
"You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns and you know you're not getting out.
"Your family is halfway around the world, some 12,000 miles away, and you just know you'll never see them again.
"As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.
"Then - over the machine gun noise - you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter.
"You look up to see an unarmed Huey. But it doesn't seem real because it contains no Medi-Vac markings.
"Ed Freeman is coming for you.
"He's not officially with Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire anyway.
"Even after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come. He's coming anyway.
"And he drops in the chopper and sits there amid the machine gun fire, as they load two or three of you on board.
"Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire to the safety of the doctors and nurses who will tend to your wounds.
"And, he kept coming back - 13 more times!
"He saved about 30 of you who'd have never have gotten out otherwise.
"Medal of Honor Recipient, Ed Freeman, died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, Idaho. May God rest his soul."
Well, friends, however it actually happened, the war hero did save many lives, though he didn't pass away just last week, rather in 2008.
My point is this: Ed Freeman and all the Ed Freemans are the real reason we enjoy the freedoms we do.
Ed Freeman is the reason we can casually enjoy this and every holiday; he's the reason we can wish each other a happy Valentine's Day.
Here's to Ed and all American heroes everywhere, living and deceased.
My heart goes out to you all on Valentine's Day - and always.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.