Memorial Day will be here tomorrow and for many people it means BBQ, swimming, baseball, and a day with family. Hopefully, there will be some thought given to the real reason so many of us are enjoying a day off with our family and friends. Memorial Day is a time dedicated to remembering and appreciating the men and women who lost their lives in our nation’s service. It is because of their sacrifices that you and I enjoy all the freedoms we have.
I have had many family members through the generations who served in the military, but to my knowledge, none have lost their life in doing so. I also know that many of their comrades did. It makes me pause to think about what I can do to honor the family members of others who had to experience that loss. So, here is my challenge to me and to you…
Go to a local cemetery today or tomorrow and honor a fallen service member.
For me, this will mean going to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis and walking the grounds. I plan to take my children and talk to them about what freedom means and why we are honoring those who gave their life in its defense. I will speak the names of soldiers who have served all the way back to the Civil War. Many of these brave people have not had their names spoken aloud in more than a hundred years. I will do so to honor them. Some people will bring flags. Others will bring flowers.
Our world is a busy place. We’re always connected and more and more people spend time with their eyes glued to their phones. Take this opportunity to disconnect and focus on how precious our life and our freedom is.
I would love to hear about ways you honored our fallen soldiers. And, if you have a family member or friend who died in service to our country, I’d love to know about them too. E-mail stories and pictures to me at TrishaM89@gmail.com and I’ll share them in a future post.
I’ll be marching in the annual Memorial Day Parade in my community with Ashley American Legion Post 673, along with other conflict and wartime era Vets. Afterward we’ll head to a local cemetery where we’ll perform military honors for those who served and are no longer with us. It’s a joyful parade and solemn service – and I’m sure I’ll get all choked up as I do every year. But, I wouldn’t miss participating and I plan on doing it every year for the rest of my life as long as I am able to.
I love your challenge Trish =)
I read a story today in our local paper about an ex military man who had traveled to a WW2 military location in the South Pacific to explore. He saw a local man wearing a chain with 5 US dog tags. He asked if he could write down the information- and proceeded to track down the soldiers- all but one made it back alive. The fifth, was a MIA (assumed dead) that left a wife and 5 children behind who had no word of whatever became of him. This man purchased the tag for $6.00 and tracked down one of the children and sent him the tag. It is the only item they have of their father. I loved this story as it points out the sacrifice, honor and brotherhood. It provides this one son a special memorial this weekend and for some time into the future.
I didn’t actually do anything on Memorial Day, but I spent the weekend pondering what it means to me, and how much I actually understand what we are actually celebrating (besides another excuse to throw a BBQ).
I have a friend from high school (we’re both 27) who was over in Iraq multiple times, and he has a lovely wife he’s been married to for a for about 5 years. He recently made the decision to get treatment for his PTSD, and has entered a live-in program for veterans. I can only imagine the strain this has put on their marriage, as I’ve seen some of his very low points and they are indeed worrisome. I have his address while he’s there, and will be keeping in touch via snail mail. I feel it’s the least I can do.
Something in me though, drove me to reach out to his wife. I’ve not met her but I wanted to tell her that I’m so proud of her husband, and extend myself to her if she ever needs an ear or a shoulder. She wrote back almost immediately with such a warm, open heart.
Although we did not lose him in war, sacrifice he did. There is a part of him that will never be the same, same goes for their marriage, and I wanted to let them BOTH know I am rooting for them. It was a simple gesture to me, but it really allowed me to feel connected with the true meaning of Memorial Day in a way I’ve not felt in the past.
First, a huge thank you to all who commented here and those who e-mailed your plans. I’ll summarize into a post soon.
@Karla- Thank you for your service to our country. It is a huge sacrifice and I admire you so much for making that choice. How did your Memorial Day plans turn out? Like you, I went to the local cemetery where 138,000 war vets are buried. It was an amazing experience to be there and telling my kids why we are honoring them.
@Debbie- What a touching story. So glad you shared it.
@Sera- Thank you for commenting and sharing such a personal experience. I am grateful for your friend’s service and I think you point out something really important. Although we didn’t lose him at war, he and his family DID lose a part of him. It’s something he can never get back. That bit of innocence that we have when we have not witnessed those acts of war firsthand. I’m so glad you reached out to his wife. I’m sure it meant the world to her. Please keep me posted on how he’s doing.