After weeks of hard work, we’re sure everyone is excited about the three-day weekend coming up — we are! We will be celebrating our day off by having the whole family over, firing up the grill and jumping in the pool for the first time of the year. It’s going to be a blast.
But Memorial Day is about much more than barbecue and new swimsuits, and the gravity of the day is often overlooked in the fun.
It’s a day to honor our heroes who have fallen in combat.
Growing up in the Vietnam era, we’ve personally experienced the pain of losing loved ones in a war. It wasn’t until more recently, when Dorothy’s father died (many years after his service was complete) that we were privileged to experience the beauty of a military funeral.
Standing in Arlington Cemetery was breathtaking. The rolling hills, serenity, and honor of the setting alone brought tears to our eyes. Standing among the graves and seeing the parents, siblings, wives, husbands and children of the fallen gave new meaning to the situation.
It’s easy to look at a cemetery and overlook the fact that each person buried is someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s parent, or someone’s friend. And looking at the hills of acre upon acre in Arlington we reflected on how many people had lost one they loved.
In addition to the Arlington funeral, we had a memorial service for Dorothy’s father at his home, by the lake he loved. It was a simple remembrance, and members of the Navy came to provide a service at the home, complete with a flag ceremony, while taps solemnly trumpeted over the lake. We concluded our memorial by each casting a carnation into the lake. It’s something we will never forget.
There’s a myriad of ways to commemorate those who gave their lives in wars. For some people, it might be tossing carnations in their favorite lake, for others it might be raising a glass. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes of your time to remember our fallen soldiers in a way that means something to you.