Today, millions of American’s celebrated Memorial Day in various ways . Some have enjoyed a three-day weekend. Many activities involving being outdoors have been enjoyed. BBQ’s, camping trips, family gatherings. I myself have done some frolicking on this National “holiday” weekend. This clip is one taken by my boyfriend at the races on Saturday at Boatnik, in Grants Pass, OR. Yes, I do like loud and fast!!!
Before going to the races we had driven to Eugene for the Track and Field State Championships. It was a quick trip, but enjoyable!
I also have paused numerous times and thought how grateful I am for the thousands of men and women who have died so that I am able to enjoy anything I choose to this Memorial day weekend.
When I was a kid, Memorial day was not the same for me as it was for everyone else. You see…when I was born, Memorial day was not part of an entire weekend “holiday”. Memorial day was my Birthday. May 30th. That was when Memorial Day used to be observed. As a small child I remember visiting the cemetery (that’s one of the things we always did) and thinking how lovely that everyone made it look so pretty for my birthday. 🙂 Hey…I was just a little kid.
In 1971 it was changed to being observed on the last Monday in May, allowing American’s yet another three-day weekend. That was the beginning of this day of remembrance getting a bit muddled. I know as a kid I didn’t like it as much, because we didn’t do the same things on my birthday that we had before. The festivities of going and seeing all the pretty flags and flowers was now done on the Monday…and my birthday lost something.
At some point in my adult life my Grammy and I began observing Memorial Day on my birthday again. It was part of the day that I enjoyed and looked forward to so much. I would go to her house and if we were fortunate there would be fresh roses to be cut from Bam-Bam’s (my grandfather) rose garden. We would gather them up and collect a few milk jugs full of water and off we went. The last time we were there we placed flowers on my both of my grandfather’s graves and on my son’s. That was the last time I was there on my birthday. Grammy has been gone now for nearly 10 years. I have not placed flowers at any of the family members graves on my birthday, the “real” Memorial Day in 10 years!
It was just about 10 years ago that Memorial day took on another meaning for me. My middle son was in the Army. He served with friends who lost their lives while on a mission. He performed requested duties in military observances for fallen soldiers. During those years that he served, I became friends with a group of wonderful online friends on a site called Strykernews.com. More than once it was a somber day of sharing our experiences and strengths and hopes to help someone get through the loss of a family member. It was during these years that I really investigated and became aware of what Memorial Day was really about.
It is a day to pay our respects to the fallen soldier. To give honor to those that served and made the ultimate sacrifice. It is a time to say a prayer for the families left behind that mourn their beloved family member. We can still enjoy festivities along with showing honor and respect. But the honor and respect and remembering all that are fallen…that must be first. That is what the true Memorial Day is about!