Last week I spent a few days with my mom in celebrating her 91st birthday. As I write this blog I feel melancholy from missing her. In her twilight years, she has evolved into this gentle spirit, free from most judgment (she still hangs on to a few). She is much easier to be around now than she was over the years. As the youngest of 5 with 7 years between me and my brother, Mom and I As a child Memorial Day was way more than a holiday in our family. It was a ritual where we attended services held at our church cemetery. I remember gathering for the service at 11:00am and listening as the priest said prayers for people who had lost their lives in the war as well as for those in service in the present day. I watched as he walked around the cemetery with holy water blessing the graves of deceased veterans. We did not have anyone in our immediate family who fought in the war but it was important to my mother that we paid respect for those who fought to keep our country free.
Once the service was over, we headed to my grandparents house for our traditional Memorial Day cookout.
As we go into the long holiday weekend excited for an extra day off and the gathering of family and friends for barbecues or getting to the beach as an official start of summer please remember all those who came before us to keep our country free.
If it were the 1960’s, I am sure I would have been demonstrating for “No More War”, marching in DC and whatever college campus I was attending. I wish our world could figure out how to collaborate rather that irritate each other so we can enjoy a peaceful world. Since we can’t seem to get our world leaders on the same page, we need to pay respects to all those who fought on our behalf.
Also remember those who were stateside serving the soldiers. Lady Auxiliary groups served those who fought overseas, USO and various celebrities traveled into the war zones to entertain our soldiers. Remember all the Bob Hope Specials and when Marilyn Monroe sang for the troops? Yet most importantly were all the women who were thrust into the workforce while raising children. They worked in the factories to build war related equipment. Remember Rosie the Riveter?? Women kept the family together and they took care of the men who came home with broken spirits.
So Memorial Day is much bigger than cookouts and having a day off. We celebrate all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country and continue to make sacrifices. They taught us courage and resilience. I honor you today and every day.