Happy Memorial Day! What does that mean to you? What does that mean to your town? Do you, or does your town, do anything to celebrate Memorial Day? If so, then count yourself lucky.
My sister, MADKAPKID, brought up a really good point in her blog today. There are no parades anymore.
When we were kids, we lived in a little, tiny village...Phoenix, NY. The name was appropriate for us. In its earlier days, Phoenix had burnt to the ground, and was rebuilt through the ashes to become the village we knew. Our school colors were orange and black...flames and ashes. Our teams were called the Firebirds. It was all so appropriate because of our history.
Karen and I were both in the high school band. I still remember the days before I got there, watching Karen march in the parade. Oh, yes...we always had a Memorial Day parade. Flags waved, people smiled and cheered, and flowers and flags were placed on the graves of veterans who died fighting so that our way of life would continue.
But, I digress.
I was watching Karen march in the parade. I was so proud of her, and I just couldn't wait until I could do that, too. It was such a special thing, to see her in our band uniform, playing her clarinet as she marched down Main Street, playing marches, by John Phillip Sousa, of course, and other patriotic songs.
(Now, that's definitely not us, but you get the idea)
So, a few short years later, it was my turn. I'll never forget the first time I got to put on that uniform. They were old, military style uniforms, as so many high school band uniforms were then. They had soutache trim, epaulets and braids on the shoulders, brass buttons, a stripe down the side of the pants, or skirt...and a military style hat. It was heavy, hot and maybe a little ugly...remember, orange and black! But I just loved that uniform. I loved putting it on and marching down Main Street in our Memorial Day parade. It was an honor and I felt really special. We would march to the high school, get in a bus and go to an even smaller village, Pennellville, and re-form at a cemetery, where we would play more patriotic songs to honor the veterans who lay in the graves there. Wow! Ya just can't make this stuff up. It really was awesome.
I'll never forget one year in particular. It was hot out that year. Our uniforms, being wool, were also very hot. The hat, being black, and wool...well, you can imagine how much fun that was in the hot sun. The guy standing in front of me at the cemetery that morning was tall and skinny...6'4". In the middle of a song, he started staggering backwards and then fell back, right at me. He'd passed out from the heat and I couldn't begin to catch him. Well, he came around and was fine, but he surely made an indelible memory for me! It was like seeing a tree falling on you!
But, I digress, again.
How did we ever get away from such things as parades to honor our veterans? Have we become so cavalier that we don't think we should honor them any more? Was it just their duty? Did it have nothing to do with us? Well I don't really think that's it. I think we have gotten so busy, and maybe a little complacent in our lives, with all of our freedoms, that we just don't always take time to think about why it is that we still have them. Isn't that just sad????
I hope that maybe this year we, at least those of us here, on Spark, can take the time to honor the ones responsible for us still having the freedoms we hold so dear. We need to do whatever we can to make sure we never let them slip away. It seems there are those that would take them away, if we let them. With more government control, it's getting difficult. There are groups that want to shut us up if we're Christian. Sadly, our governments at all levels seem to lean that way all too often. We need to persevere to remain free to worship as we please.
This may seem like an odd connection, but I think even what we're doing here at Spark is somehow connected to us honoring the veterans that fought for our freedom. I think we might owe it to them to try to be the best person we can be, to show that we appreciate the life we've been given. That means getting healthy
The healthier we are, the better we can live and encourage others to remember. Remember the reasons our soldiers fought in the first place. Remember the freedoms that we have still today, because of them. Remember the veterans that gave all they had...their very lives...to keep those freedoms. Our fathers, brothers, sons, uncles and now mothers, daughters, and sisters. They are the ones who fought for us.
Veterans, we salute you!
Things I'm grateful for:
I'm grateful for the freedoms I enjoy daily and tend to take for granted. I hope I won't be taking them for granted so much in the future.
I'm grateful for the privilege to gather as families and friends and have a cookout. Without a holiday to remember our veterans, people would be working today!
I'm grateful for remembering celebrations of the past, that taught me the meaning of Memorial day. I hope our kids and grandchildren can remember in the future why this isn't "just another holiday".
So, my friends, remember to always count your blessings and treasure them. Some of them came at quite a cost.