Memorial Day is an important holiday in our home.
Not only am I a veteran, but so are my father and uncles. As were my grandfathers. My family has a long history of fighting to preserve our way of life and to ensure that others have an opportunity to be free. We are keenly aware of the sacrifice that soldiers make.
Since I no longer wear a uniform, it can be difficult for my kids to fully comprehend that I was once a soldier and, so, the idea of honoring our soldiers and veterans can be a bit abstract for them. On Memorial Day weekend, we try to make it a bit more concrete by taking them to our church cemetery and placing flags at each of the marked headstones. Some will be marble, but more common are the bronze plaques. Once you identify them, you will have no problem finding them.
We purchase small flags and hand them to the kids. We walk together, reminding of the decorum of strolling through a cemetery. They each take turns finding the headstones and placing the flags. We get to talk a little about each of the branches of service and each of the wars that these buried heroes represent.
Do they get it? I like to think that, somewhere down deep, they are beginning to understand this sort of sacrifice. I am more confident that, over the years, they will grasp the importance of remembering those who have fought and died for their country. In grasping that, I pray they will strive to sacrifice in their own way, putting others before themselves and striving to serve something greater than themselves.
This is most what I would like to see from my children as they grow into young adults, a sense that the world is bigger than their little hands, but that their little hands can make a huge impact on the world.
What are your plans this Memorial Day? How are you honoring our fallen heroes? Leave us a comment and share your story.