I didn't get a chance yesterday due to my husband's birthday, so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Memorial Day and what it means to so many. I read several blog posts this past weekend that really changed my opinion of Memorial Day and what it means to wish others a "happy" Memorial Day. You can find those posts here and here. But, the post that had the greatest impact on me was this letter that has been circulating around the internet and blogosphere. Deb's letter literally broke my heart and gave me an whole new perspective on Memorial Day.
Growing up, Memorial Day was the day my grandma would pack up all of us grand kids and take us to visit my great-grandmother's grave. My grandma would spend weeks choosing the perfect artificial flowers to place in the two giant urns which decorate my great-grandmother's headstone. While my grandma changed the flowers, my cousins, sisters, and I would wander around asking about all the people in the cemetery since we are related to most of them. We were always amazed at how many children were buried beneath the older headstones. As children the death of a child was something that was hard for us to comprehend. When my grandma was done with the flowers, we would load up, go visit some of her relatives that live near the cemetery, enjoy a picnic lunch, and possibly do some swimming in the nearby creek. We always looked forward to going with her. It was our way of connecting with our past and how we came to be, even if we didn't realize it at the time.
Now that I'm older, I don't get to go with my grandma. I haven't been to visit my great-grandmother's grave site in years. I always feel a twinge of sadness and guilt every time Memorial Day comes and goes and I wasn't able to go with my grandma again this year. I hope that when the time comes that I can be as faithful to her and my mom's graves as she has been to her mother's.
For me, Memorial Day has always been a time to remember family members and friends who have died. I have never lost anyone close to me because of their service in the military, so while I knew Memorial Day was a time to honor our troops too, it never really hit home how important it was to remember those who have died sacrificing everything they have for our freedoms until this year.
While I'm ashamed to admit it, it's the truth. I think a lot of us take Memorial Day and what it truly means for granted and I personally am going to try to do more to make sure that the day no longer comes and goes without me at least taking a moment to say a prayer for all of those who are in the service and for those who have lost love ones in the service. I also want to try to do what Deb's letter asked and I want to start taking Emma to a nearby military cemetery on Memorial Day. I think it is important for her to see that her freedom truly isn't free. I also want to start sending cards to my state's VA hospital around Memorial Day. I really want to take the time to thank those who have fought and who are still fighting for what I take for granted everyday.
This is how I want to change Memorial Day for me and my family, and I hope that after you read some of the posts I have shared, that you too will be encouraged to do something other than BBQ's and swimming next Memorial Day.
I also wanted to take a moment and share a few pictures from our weekend. Randy's birthday was yesterday, and Sunday I had the privilege of going with him to a Charlie Daniel's Band concert. Our local amphitheater hosted it and it was a beautiful, sunny day after almost a week of rain. We weren't able to stay for the whole thing due to a bonfire we were having that night for some of our friends, but what we did get to see was awesome. Charlie Daniel definitely knows how to put on a show and he is such down to earth and patriotic man. He frequently referenced our troops and our freedom, and the show opened with a salute to the different branches of the military and our local high school choir singing the national anthem. That was truly a beautiful moment. One of the highlights for me. While I didn't take very many pictures, I wanted to share a few of them with you. I hope you don't mind :)