Monday, May 25, 2009


When I was growing up Memorial Day wasn't about a barbecue or going to the lake. It was always about honoring those who are no longer with us. My family made the tour to the different cemeteries where loved ones are buried and placed flowers on their graves. We learned early on how to show our respect in these sacred places by walking near the headstones and by being quiet. We also learned a lot about history by reading the engravings on the stones of both the young and the old and by the stories my parents told of uncles who fought in the wars and of a great grandmother who had died during the flu epidemic. During the different memorial day services, we would hear the speakers and the prayers. We would see the men with their veteran's hats on, haltingly and often times limping, lay the wreath on the unknown soldiers grave. We would hear the mournful sound of taps being played out across the quiet hillsides and then we would hear the shocking sound of the gun salute break that silence.
My brother (as well as an uncle, an aunt, and a cousin) is buried at Fort McPherson, which is a national cemetery at Maxwell, NE. We stopped to place some flowers on his grave and as I looked out over the rows and rows of white tombstones, I thought back to these times and realized that these services and rituals were where I began to develop my love for this country and also where I came to learn about the sacrifice so many have made for us. My children asked the same questions that I always asked when I was young and now they are learning the same lessons I did.

It is so important to teach our children what this day really means. It only takes an hour or two to attend a Memorial Day service. Not much of a sacrifice when you stop to consider what so many individuals and families have given up for each of us. There is not a better history lesson to be found!! I promise the barbecue and lake will still be there when you are done.


Rhonda said...

Thanks for the nice post.

Nicole said...

I've never attended a Memorial Day service but now I'm planning on attending one next year with my children. Thanks for sharing the significance of it in your life.