It’s Memorial Day weekend, a time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our American freedoms. A friend reminded me this week that we really shouldn’t wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day” since it is indeed not about celebration, but rather remembrance, honor and gratitude.
I do think the weekend can be celebratory, though. A celebration of the freedoms we enjoy in America. We live in the greatest country in the world. Sure, I’m biased. But aren’t you?
My dad and sister both served in the Marine Corps, my dad in Vietnam and my sister in Iraq… twice. My husband served in the Navy on the USS Roosevelt. My nephew was injured in Iraq after a road side bomb sprayed him with shrapnel. My grandfather and six great uncles fought in World War 2 in the Army and my great-great-great grandfather fought under General Custer in the Civil War and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Needless to say, I come from a military family and therefore, grew up with a kind of thankfulness for the men and women who serve and sacrifice that some people don’t know or understand. I was taught to revere the flag, not burn it. I was taught to stand at attention with my hand over my heart when the pledge is recited or the national anthem plays. I was taught it’s an honor when your child decides to enter the military, not an embarrassment. It’s something to be encouraged not discouraged.
I will attend a Memorial Day parade with my children on Monday and attempt to teach them the same gratefulness for our military. But I will also have a BBQ and pool party while “celebrating” the fact that we can vote in a democracy, practice the religion (or non-religion) of our choosing, argue with our neighbors about politics and God and marriage equality without fear of being thrown in jail for our beliefs.
I’ll also spend some time enjoying this amazing, Florida weather. Last year over Memorial Day weekend, Tropical Storm Alberto was just off our coast bringing several rounds of torrential downpours from those outer rain bands. This year, the sun is shining, the temperatures are cooler than average and the humidity is low. Plus, it’s SNOWING in upstate New York! At the end of May!! Yes, this is a picture from Lake Placid on Saturday. Aren’t you glad you aren’t there?