Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Today’s post is a tribute to all of the men and women that serve our country and to the families that are left behind to carry on without them.
To these service people and families, past and present I say Thank You!
Thank you for allowing me to grow up in a country that is free.
Thank you for making it a safe place for me to raise my children.
Thank you for making the sacrifice so that my grandchild will also know the joys of freedom.

My Mother and I were talking last night about Memorial Day. She was commenting that she wished our country would become more patriotic like when she was young. She said she wished we would all treat this holiday with the dignity and reverence that it was intended to have, instead of an excuse for a 3-day weekend. I wanted to agree with her, but as I listened to her I realized that we treat this holiday as just a 3-day weekend because that is all we have been taught.

As I thought back to my own childhood I realized that no one ever taught me what this holiday was about. We did not have classes about Memorial Day in school - probably because it was the end of the school year and the teachers were “done teaching” for the year. My family did not go and decorate graves with flowers. And my Father most certainly did not plant flags all over his perfectly manicured lawn. Instead, our celebration included Dad digging the flag out of the hall closet and putting it out on the front porch and there was usually a BBQ or picnic and some swimming for the first time that season.

So, what is the answer? How do we make this holiday into more than just another 3-day weekend and cause for yet another BBQ? Are we, the post-WW-2 generations, really at fault for not being more patriotic? Yes and no are the answers I came up with. How are we to know if we are not taught? But on the other hand why do we not question?
After my talk with my Mother I thought to myself, what can I do to celebrate this holiday in the manner it was designed for?

This is what I came up with. . .
*I sat down and wrote an email to all of my brother Steve’s shipmates and thanked them for their service to me and my country.
*My prayers last night were of thankfulness for those that have served and are serving us today.
*I went out today and I took photos of the flags that were flying in my community.
*And lastly I decided to use my blog today as a platform to encourage all of you that actually read this, to remember this holiday in some meaningful way yourself.

Here is one of the photos I took today just before sunset - I added my brother’s boot camp photo to it as a tribute.

I would like to challenge each of you to make a list of the Service Men & Women that you know and find some way to honor them. Maybe a note or an email of thanks. Or a phone call just to say hi. Maybe a prayer for their safety. Or maybe they have already passed on, and you will take flowers to their grave. I would also challenge you to include your children in this activity if you have them. This way maybe the next generation will not have the conversation I had with my Mother last night.

God Bless you - and God Bless America!

My List:
Winford Schell - Uncle - Army - WW2
Steve Peterson - Brother - Navy - Vietnam
Gaylord Schell - Cousin - Army - Vietnam
Steve Tiller - Navy - Vietnam
Richard Kramer (aka Grog) - Navy - Vietnam
John F. Winther, Jr. - Navy - Vietnam
Mike Schmidtman - Navy - Vietnam
Peter C. Laustrup - Navy - Vietnam
Bob Jackson - Navy - Vietnam
Steve Sauder - Navy - Vietnam
Rocky Issacson - Navy - Vietnam
Tito Fererra - Army - Present

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