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.
Thank you for the post. My husband flew F 16 and T 38 for 11 years. We are done now with the AF and have settled in UT. Memorial Day is a very somber day for us. We have lost great friends in the War. Their wives and children are in our prayers and thoughts. Thanks again.
I am the wife of a deployed soldier. I want to tell you thank you. Thank you for this post. Thank you for recognizing the sacrifice so many people have made for our country. Thank you for teaching your children that our country is worth protecting. Thank you for the reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.
AWESOME! It is amazing that you posted this (not that I am a bit shocked). People often forget what the holiday is about and my Kinder has a mind set much like your son. She is very proud to have a mom that serves and protects every single day. Thank you for making it about what it truly is and not about what people have made it out to be.
Well said. Thank you.
Thank you for posting this! My husband is a former Marine and lost many friends and fellow Marines during his two tours in Iraq. It’s always a tough day for him and it’s encouraging when others remember the true meaning of the day and not just the BBQs and extra day off work. Beautiful post!
Your son is awesome.
I’m pleased you posted this. The awesome barbeque recipe can wait.
Thank you so much for this beautiful post! My nephew is in the Army and I could not be more proud of his choice to protect and defend our country. I have always appreciated your recipes and crafts. Now I am blessed to appreciate your family’s patriotism!
So sorry………..I also meant to mention that your son has such a wonderful heart at such a young age. Thank you for sharing his essay. He will make a GREAT soldier one day!
Thank you for posting that. This day always makes me tear up. My husband is a soldier in the Army. He just left to Afghanistan. This makes his second deployment. My kids and I are so very proud of him and honored to call him OUR hero. Although I always try to stay positive and hope that his whole platoon is staying safe, the truth is that he has a dangerous job and the thought of getting that dreadful knock on the door is always in the back of my mind. God Bless those who have lost their lives, and those who are risking theirs for our freedom.
Thank You for your post. My sister is a pilot in the Air Force. I love hearing stories like this and knowing other families are teaching their children the meaning of this sacred day.
Thank you so very much as no one should ever forget. I pray for those who serve and for those who have fallen in order to provide me with the freedoms I have this day. My son shared the same dream as yours and today he is a Sargent in the U.S. Army and I could not be prouder. God Bless you and your family.
Tell your son thanks for a wonderful essay. What a wonderful young man he will grow up to be.
Amen, and kudos to you for teaching your son the true meaning of Memorial Day.
What a sweet sweet little boy……
I think this is beautiful and your son has a wonderful heart!
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!
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.
Thank you for this post! I loved your son’s paper, that’s a beautiful desire to protect.
How lovely. I love the quote by the photographer. So true, isn’t it? Thank you for a great reminder today.
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.
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.
Well stated, thanks so much for this reminder. And thanks for being a mom who teaches her children well:) They are our future!
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!
Thank you for your consideration on this day. I know I need the reminder.
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!!