Amazingly, we’re in the final countdown until Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to the American summer. As we all know, it’s a weekend full of barbecues, picnics, parades and (hopefully) some tasty pie. If we’re really lucky, there will also be a pool or beach involved.
Just saying “Memorial Day” evokes vivid childhood memories of riding in my hometown parade in the back of my dad’s classic car, waving to folks lining the parade route. The parade ended at the appropriately named Memorial Field, and we’d all have to be quiet and respectful while the names of our town’s fallen were read and flowers were placed on wreaths. When the service was over, all the kids would break and run for the free ice cream that was provided, relieved to escape from the solemnity.
As a small child, I barely comprehended the significance of the ceremony. As an adult, I understand it too well, as friends and neighbors have lost loved ones in combat over the past few years. I know this weekend I will be taking some time out from all the fun I have planned, to reflect on the sacrifices of others that make life as I know it possible, and to remember our fallen soldiers and their families.
How do you plan to spend your Memorial Day weekend?