With my daughter 2 1/2 this Memorial Day, and my husband finally home for one of them, we decided to start some family traditions that we can do each year. Reminders of what this day really stands for, and ways to spend it as a family.
Just like most of America, we do the fun parts:
- We grill up brats. I use the term “we” loosely as I’ve never even turned on the grill for fear of blowing us all up.
- Bella and I made a flag cake – the kind with angel food, strawberries and blueberries.
- We fill up the kiddie pool and sit outside. It’s usually 95-100* from May – September in El Paso so we take advantage of the mornings and evenings.
The Boy Scouts come around here to put up flags in our front yards for a small donation. It makes our neighborhood look really neat.
Our base (Ft. Bliss) has a Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery here, with a 21 gun salute and the Brig. General speaking.
We take time to think on everyone who served, especially those who gave their lives. As Bella gets older, this reflection will become more a part of the day. Sam served in Iraq at the height of the war, as well as other places all over, and then dealt with a lot when he came home. I want her to know just how much her daddy does for us each day, what he puts at stake by choosing the path he did.
It’s so important that this generation grows up with a sense of why they have what they do. How there are men and women who choose a different kind of life to make sure America stays the way it does. Members of the military are human, we make mistakes and give the media a reason to gasp, but everyone in uniform made a choice to do this. Perfect service or not – somewhere in there a sacrifice was made. For these people shown here, it was the ultimate one.
Sam chose this life because he loves it. I love what it offers us, the security, the ability to stay at home, the satisfaction of seeing my husband happy with what he does. We never expect anyone to feel sorry for us when he leaves or to praise us for going through the hard times. But when you take that time to stop someone in uniform and say thank you for all they’ve done – it means the world. And it happens a lot – when we are out and about, there is always a “thank you” or “thinking of you” that a stranger passes along. I know Sam never forgets those words, and they are meant for him.
We are so thankful for our country and our freedom. If you have served or are, thank you. Even if you’ve never deployed, you are willing to. If it came down to it, you’d be willing to give up your life so others, maybe not even Americans, can have a better one.
Do you have a family member or friend that served or is serving in our military? How do you remember Memorial Day? What sort of things does your family do to teach your children about what it means?