The big three day Memorial Day weekend is upon us. Living in a town with three big lakes, I am well aware of what this holiday has become. It is the unofficial start of summer. Beginning Friday the population of our little town will nearly double in size. Everyone in the state of Arkansas with any type of flotation device will pack up their belongings and head our direction. Traffic will be snarled. The lakes will be packed. Drunken idiots will be everywhere.
I wonder how many of these people stop to actually remember what this holiday is about. Memorial day commemorates all the men and women who have died while in military service. I love to go to the lake and barbecue just like the next guy. I understand the excitement that summer brings. I only wish more people would put down their cheeseburgers for just a moment to remember our fallen heroes.
I was raised to be very proud of my country. My father served in the Navy during Viet Nam. Both of my grandpa's served in the Navy during World War II. I don't know much about my paternal grandfather's service. I do know that my mom's Dad served on the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier in many of the major battles of the Pacific. I am proud to know that the two previous generations of men in my family bravely served our country.
As you might imagine patriotism was a very important thing in our family. I still get upset by people who don't remove their hats during the National Anthem. There are always plenty of people at the ball game who never even acknowledge what is going on. They are too busy ordering a hot dog or talking to their girl friend.
I worry Braden's generation will lose touch with the past. You see it is easy for me to remember World War II. All I have to do is go see my Grandpa and talk to him about it. Everyone my age and older knew someone who served in that war. Having a living link to the war puts a face on it. It allows those occurrences from long ago to have some personal meaning. Soon all of these living links to history will be gone. It is our duty as parents to make sure our children know that this war was a huge turning point in world history. The U.S. and our allies stopped some terrible men from spreading hatred and tyranny across the globe. We must share these stories with our children so they never forget what brave men and women did in the past to provide us with the freedoms we have today. I for one will tell Braden everything I know about all the wars and conflicts our country has endured. I certainly want him to know the things that his Great-Grandpas did in WWII and what his Grandpa did in Viet Nam.
It goes on today with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't matter how any of us feel about those operations. The soldiers are still there risking their lives every day. We should certainly remember them too. Please take time this Memorial Day weekend to share a story about someone you know who served in the military. If you yourself served share what you are comfortable sharing. Don't let any of our heroes be forgotten. Some of them gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. Let's show them the respect they deserve.
Happy Memorial Day.