Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day

I know many of you are heading out to barbecues, camping, the river or the beach or whatever to celebrate the holiday weekend. Which I wholeheartedly support! I cannot wait for the day when I feel well enough to do those things, not to mention to be able to start working again so that I am able to have a "holiday" :)

But I beg and implore you - please fly your flag. Please take a minute, or more, to remember what this holiday is about. If you have children, please please take a minute to teach them why there is a Memorial Day. I am not stepping near a political debate here, whether you agree with the war, whether you support the president, what you think about military spending - I don't really care. What scares me is the fact that so many people, not even just kids, have no idea about military history, or have no connection to anyone who has ever served, that important historical and societal lessons are being forgotten. I come from a family with a strong service background. My great-grandfather, grandfather, uncles, numerous cousins, brother, sister, father-in-law and myself and my husband were all in the military. Our family lost a cousin in Vietnam. My grandfather was at Iwo Jima, my uncle was a raider at Guadalcanal.

We don't have generals and colonels in my family, we have grunts and lance corporals and sergeants and pride. I used to have my grandfather's stories memorized, I heard them so often. But his dementia came on and the stories became confused and life moves on and now I can only remember so many and that greatly saddens me. I should have recorded them when I had the chance.

A few years back we found people who had been with my cousin when he was killed in Vietnam. He was in country only two months, yet these men talked about him like they had known him forever, and were still devastated by his death 35 years later. I don't think there are many things in this era that can exact that kind of emotion and loyalty. So teach your kids what has been given and sacrificed. Pick the name of a soldier during a long ago war and research him. Learn the history of the branches. Go to a Memorial Day service. Just remember.

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