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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

So, today is the actual day that our country has set aside to honor our fallen heroes in the military.  For some this holiday is just another day...workers in department stores around town had to be at work to let customers in for those sales after all.  However, as I have said over the course of this weekend, this is a special day for us.  We could never let it slip by us without thought.

And, there were those who took this day seriously.  At 11am, our town had two services across town from each other.  Our family attended the service at the VFW where a short quiet demonstration of honor was attended by a handful of participants.  There was great symbolism in the program, starting with a prayer.  The commander led us through the various symbols that were placed on the memorial marker in front of the building.  A red, white & blue wreath was placed to honor all the fallen.  A white rose was placed for purity and honor of those who gave their lives in service.  A red rose for the blood that was shed for our freedom.  A blue rose for the eternal rest we desire for them.  And finally a small American flag to thank them for their sacrifice for country.  This was followed by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps.

The second ceremony was at the local cemetery where we had placed flags on Saturday.  I heard it was a very nice presentation recognizing the importance of remembering those who have gone before us in military action.  Our very own 4Her, Caleb, was awarded for his essay recognizing the importance of Veterans in his life.  Myra told me he did not have fancy quotes or historical events recalled in his essay.  Instead, he wrote about his own experience working with Veterans in our community.  I am sure he wrote from his heart and that is why his essay was chosen for a first place prize.  Great job, Caleb!

So many have given their lives for our country since the time our country began.  It is easy to forget or take their death for granted.  I thought I would share one such life that I will never forget.  After the service, I spoke to a good friend of ours and we both agreed that this day does not go by without thinking of his vibrant, young personality and how he lived to die for his country.  His name was Chris Everett, and he loved God, family, country and the Army more than anything else.  He would often volunteer to go out on missions so other 'family' men would not have to go out and risk their lives.  How strange that it was just a few days before his death that he would do this very thing...volunteer to go out on a mission.  And how providential that he would not die on a mission like this, but on the main base instead.  Maybe it was God's way of protecting him from a worse fate.  We will never know that answer.  However, we do know that he proudly served and would do it again if given the chance.  This is the kind of hero that we honor this day.  This is the reason my eyes can never be dry as they play Taps...and I have heard it many times over the years.  I thank you Chris and all the other men and women who have paid the price.

Someone asked me today if we should only honor those who actually died in battle.  My answer to that is no...I honor those who have died whether in battle or after....whether they live only a moment after a battle or years to come...because it is out of respect for the dead that we honor them.  We show them dignity for their service by remembering them.  There are other days to honor the living...but give those who have died and their families this is the least we can do for them.

And so we did that today.  We honored those who we lost with the reciting of the poem I have written so many posts about in the last few weeks.  We have done this for the Veterans who live because they need to know we still care and want to help them. Today we did this for those who have died because we want to show that we will not forget the importance to honor our country and flag that they died to protect.

I have watched the 4Hers perform several times, but this time it seemed like they went beyond those walls of the VFW.  They did an excellent job in spite of the rush and moving the skit up an hour.  To me it just showed that these youth have come to understood why they are doing this skit.  As a parent, I have learned the importance as well.  Things may go wrong around the performance but in the end the performance is what it needs to be.  It brought tears to my eyes to have this all come together.  Several in the audience talked to the youth after the performance and thanked them.  I think it gives the living Veterans hope in the future to see that their are those youth who will carry on our American pride and take up the call to duty if need be.  Today we 'made the best better' by being present and witnessing to that greater good that should bring all of us together united as one nation regardless of race, color, or creed.

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