For so many people Memorial Day simply means a long weekend. An extra day off from work. The start of summer. Barbecues, picnics, and camping. Maybe even taking a few minutes to remember all of the people they have lost over the years.
Those things are all fine to celebrate and enjoy. But to me, it’s so much more than that. It’s about honoring our fallen hero’s. It’s about remembering the sacrifice that they made to protect the country we live in. It’s about teaching our children what these brave men and women did for us. It’s about comforting mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, children and friends of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Maybe it’s because my parents placed a high value on patriotism, and honoring those who have died to protect our freedoms. Maybe it’s because my grandfather, father, brothers, and my children’s father all served (or currently serve) in the military. Maybe it’s because I have a multitude of other friends and family members who have served or are currently serving. To me it’s crystal clear that each and every one of them could have easily been or become one of the people we are honoring each Memorial Day.
I grew up starting the long weekend handing out the poppies for donations with the American Legion Auxiliary. Then on Monday morning my family and I were up at the crack of dawn, rain or shine, going through the cemetery putting flags in front of the veterans headstones. Later that morning we were back for the service they had there. Growing up, I KNEW what Memorial Day was REALLY for.
It’s about the men and women we can’t thank for what they did for our country because they sacrificed everything.