Today is Memorial Day, the day when we are to remember all those who have served and died for our country and beyond. When the kids were little, we spent a great deal of this day learning, doing crafts, putting out the flag and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. And we nearly always go to one of the cemeteries in our area, particularly the one where a lot of soldiers are buried. There used to be ceremonies including fly-bys of fighter jets, sometimes we could see them from our living room window. But, since those jets are usually being used elsewhere, we haven't seen them in several years. This year, we are planning to attend a ceremony in town and then go to the cemetery we usually go to. Chad put our flag out. We talked about the origin and whys of Memorial Day (it used to be called Decoration Day) and I prayed with my kids, thanking God for all the brave people who served and died, including the families left behind. In particular on my mind is a family here in Oregon who lost their only child, a son, just last week. He was supposed to be married in the next few weeks. He was on his second tour of duty and he didn't come home. Not alive, anyway. My heart goes out to that family. I always cry when I read about those we have lost in these recent wars, especially when it hits in our state. Oh, it doesn't matter where they live, I cry anyway.
There was a good article in our local paper about the shift of focus for Memorial Day, how for most people it's about getting away and having fun. But there was also an article about several families who convene every year at a cemetery where their loved ones are buried. They use this time to not only see family but to clean up the grave sites and bring flowers. I thought that was a lovely tradition to have. The children in those families hopefully will continue the tradition, making sure their kids honor their loved ones. Important stuff. I want my kids to have these values, always showing respect for those we have lost, for those in the service, keeping traditions. Today, Todd and I both told the kids about our family members who served our country. I have a lot of military in my family, including the Civil War, and I hope to keep telling these stories so my kids will remember.