My first grader came home from school a few weeks ago with this little assignment tucked away with the papers in his back pack:
For those of you who don’t have the magical gift of interpretation:
“When I grow up I want to be in the Army. I want to protect the nation. I think I will be a great soldier in the Army. I would love to protect America.”
This little boy has a patriotic soul. He’s 7 years old and is fascinated with American history and government, and especially the military. What struck me is that his little essay doesn’t say anything about shooting rifles or driving tanks (which would be a reason many little boys would find fascination with the branches of the military.) In his simple language, he expresses a desire to serve and protect his country. I love that. When we’re out and about and run into men in uniform, you would think he and his two little brothers had just caught a glimpse of Santa Clause in the flesh. Those men and women are truly super heroes to my little kids.
For many Americans, Memorial Day often sparks thoughts of BBQ’s and the beginning of summer vacation. With a day off of work and school, creating a 3-day weekend, it seems to be a great reason to gather and enjoy good food and good company. In fact, often here on this blog we share round-ups of our favorite BBQ recipes, or the best desserts for potlucks. My thoughts today have nothing to do about food.
Photo by Charlton Stanley
I was reading a blog post by the photographer of the photo above. That beautiful, yet haunting scene, is the view from his son’s grave. His words struck me,
“We owe it to the dead to honor their memory. It does not matter the war, the cause, or the politics. For every one of those marble slabs in the Gardens of Stone, some parent or loved one got that terrible, awful knock on the door.”
Many of us will in fact be gathering today, with friends and family, perhaps enjoying the onset of summer break and warm weather. I want to invite you to take at least a moment today to honor those who have lost their lives in the service of our country. If you have children, take some time to remind them what Memorial Day is all about. Teach them to honor, and to respect. I love my country and I love those who have dedicated their lives to its service. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones. Let today be a beautiful day of remembrance.