Memorial Day

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My first grader came home from school a few weeks ago with this little assignment tucked away with the papers in his back pack:

When I grow Up

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.

Dogwood BloomsPhoto 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.

 

28 comments

  1. My son joined the Marines last year, so today has more meaning for me then it ever has before. His decision opened up the discussion in our family of who has served our country. Although I knew that both of my Grandpas served in World War II, I was amazed to discover that my Grandma’s six brothers served in each branch of the military. I come from a great military heritage that I didn’t even know about, but I am so grateful for their service, and for all who serve our country!

  2. Thank you for putting an emphasis on the true purpose of Memorial Day. You son is precious and what a good job you’ve done with him.

  3. My oldest was just like that. He wanted to be in the army when he grew up. He talked about it all the time. He told us that he though the army should use balloons with rocks in them as weapons. “because the bad guys would see them and just think ‘oh its a balloon’ and then they’d go ‘AHHH’ when they saw the rocks.” 🙂 He was fascinated with American history too. He grew out of the military desire, but at 15 he loves all history and American history in general. Nice post.

  4. Thank you for the beautiful posting! I grew up as an Air Force “brat” and my Father made sure to teach us about this wonderful nation he served. Thanks for taking a moment to remind us about what this day is really about.

  5. Beautifully put! I can’t thank you enough for this post. I am an Army spouse and was really feeling like non-military people had forgotten what Memorial Day is truly about. Thank you for proving me wrong!

  6. Thank you so much for posting this! My husband is a pilot in the Air Force, and a few weeks ago the plane he flies went down in Kyrgyzstan, killing all 3 crew members on board. The crew was from the same squadron that my husband flies here in Washington, so the crash is devastating to our Air Force family. We will be attending the funerals and memorial services for these heroes tomorrow. We really appreciate the reminder to everyone that Memorial Day is much more than a 3 day weekend.

    And on a lighter note, I love every post from you guys! My favorite recipes come from this site! Thank you for everything you do!!

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