Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day

While Memorial Day may have started as Decoration Day, it is now hot dog and pool opening day in America.  Perhaps, we need to rethink that and remember why it started in the first place.The first recognized Decoration Day was in Charleston, SC right after the Civil War.  A Memorial Day celebration did not become the norm until after World War II when so many were killed in foreign lands.  It was not officially named Memorial Day until 1967, which is very recent in the scheme of things.Since my Dad was a Marine in Korea, we never missed a patriotic celebration.  This would explain why I love all things patriotic.  I remember watching the parades in Deer Park, Ohio where I grew up.  I remember the ancient soldiers in their uniforms.  I remember the Gold Star Mothers, such old women I thought they were, generally riding in folding chairs on the back of an even older flat bed truck.   They wore all white and wore a barracks cap on their heads.  When you are a child or a teen, everyone is old, older than dirt. Now, I am an old woman.  At almost 57, I cannot claim to be middle aged any more.The Gold Star Mothers aren't older than dirt now.  Some of them are much younger than I.  Many of them still wear the traditional white outfit when they attend events where they are recognized for their sacrifice.  Their sacrifice is more immediate and vivid to me now. At one time, they looked into a newborn face and cooed and clucked and hummed.  They sent a child off for the first day of school and spent the day at home or at work imagining all sorts of horrific scenarios (or like me they locked the car keys in the car and had to wait for a police officer to rescue them in the school parking lot.)  These mothers went through every possible phase with their youngster and then teenager.And, then, one day, they watched with awesome pride and heartbreak as that child raised his/her right hand and swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign or domestic".  Awesome pride because so many young people have no concept of something larger than themselves.  Heartbreak because they have chosen a different path.  A path that doesn't lead to riches or public acclaim. Then, with a depth of grace I can only imagine, they answered the knock at the door.  The knock that is final.  The knock that informs you that that newborn face is no more of this Earth.  I have met some of these beautiful, gracious women.  These proud and beaming mothers.  They have a special grace and a special mission.  They must now walk among the rest of us as examples for their deceased. In a role reversal for most of us, they will one day face that child and say, "I did you proud."This weekend, as you grill or hike or swim, please take just one moment to remember the fallen and the Gold Star Mothers, Fathers, Wives and Husbands they have left behind.

Memorial Day Images

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Memorial Day defines price of freedom
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Memorial Day Picture - Wallpaper Photo #209360
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... meaning: “Remember!” So, Memorial Day is “Remember! Day
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