Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Is Not Just for BBQ

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.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

19 comments:

PJ Mullen said...

You are very right, a lot of what many holidays really mean seem to have gotten lost somehow. I'm just as guilty about it all and I think it is important that as we raise our children we remaining cognizant about teaching them what these day are really all about. That Memorial Day is about the men and women who have served our country so that we may have the freedom we enjoy. Not a cookout in the back yard or a really good sale at Target. Nice post and something to really think about.

Daddy Files said...

I'm also in a tourist trap and I know what you mean. Thank a veteran this weekend.

And with that sentiment in mind, a quick shout out to Staff Sgt. Kelly Woerdeman, Staff Sgt. Victor Banks and (former) Sgt. Alicia Banks. You are my friends and my heroes! All combined that's six tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. And it's also important to remember that unfortunately the battles don't end for some of these soldiers when they come home. Hang in there guys!

Burgh Baby said...

We are celebrating by busting our asses to be able to use that good ol' VA loan my husband is entitled to. Heh.

We're both from very military families, but very fortunate to not have had the worst happen (yet *knocks on wood* --youngest brother is in Afghanistan right now). You rock for remembering the "reason for the season!"

Tom said...

Thanks for bringing this up. I would be interested to read about ways in which people honor those who served.

Mike said...

Very nice sentiment for a very special holiday. Really do need to remember all that have give to us our freedom...

surprised mom said...

Great post! Thanks for bring up the real reason for Memorial Day and giving me time to reflect on it. I am very proud of all the soldiers that have served, are serving and will serve. They ensure my libertees and freedoms and I owe them a debt I can't possibly repay. A big thank you to all the soldiers out there, especially, and with sadness, to all that have given their lives for their fellow countrymen.

GreenJello said...

Fantastic post. Thanks for the reminder to honor those who paved the way.

My Bottle's Up! said...

found you through outnumbered... so grateful for this post of your's. my husband is a pilot for the navy, has been deployed a few times, and his service to our country has been both a testament to him and to our marriage.

you're so right to say, "don't let any of our heroes be forgotten."

my husband and i both thank you for that.

cheers!

Russ said...

Well said Otter. Unfortunately I didn't get to know my Grandfather very well, he died before I could appreciate what he had done. I do know that he served in the Pacific theater in the Air Force. He was stationed in Australia and India (if memory serves).

My Dad was in the National Guard (or chicken army as he calls it), but was moved to active duty during the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

I flirted with the Navy, but the calling just wasn't there.

Jason said...

I hear ya. My father and both grandfathers are veterans. We need to spend a bit more time remembering those we have lost and what they fought for. We all need a reminder of that from time to time.

Rob said...

Very nicely put. Most people think of Memorial Day as the start of summer and that is it. If it wasn't for all of the men and women who serve and have served our nation this country would not be what it is today.

Happy Memorial Day!

-Justin said...

I too hope that folks take time this weekend to remember those who have served and those who have fallen. I work retail, so unfortunately I'll be working. I will make sure that my kids and family take a few moments from our day to remember what this weekend is all about! Great post! Thanks!

Bella Daddy said...

THANK YOU for such an IMPORTANT messages. We ALL need to remember, to honor, and to respect!

Melisa with one S said...

Great post. Braden will understand the importance, because you'll teach him!

Melisa with one S said...

Oh, I almost forgot to add: each year, our Boy Scout Troop is asked to march in our town's Memorial Day parade. It's a huge honor for the boys, because they escort the Gold Star Families (Families who have lost a loved one in combat). I expect them to march each and every year. My boys grumble a little bit before the parade, but are always moved when they march and end up glad to do it.

Mama Nut said...

I was having these same thoughts today, actually! Nicely put. We live across the street from a cemetery, and I have been watching all the people there all week. It looks more like a garden, now.

My grandfather didn't lose his life in WWII, but he sustained major injuries that left him crippled for the rest of his life. He recieved the purple heart. I like to honor him on Memorial Day, and all the others who risked and/or lost their lives for my freedom today.

Great post!

creative-type dad said...

Well said.

Steely Dad said...

Hear-hear, brotha! VERY well said. Many don't appreciate the sacrifice that was made. My step-father served in the US Navy for 20 years and his dad was a decorated soldier in WWII (British Navy). My father-in-law is a Holocaust survivor. As Elie Wiesel said, "Never shall I forget." We all have a duty to remember.

WeaselMomma said...

well said.