Memorial Day – I loved this holiday when I was little. I loved the parade, the flags, the yearly cookout planned with family and friends at a special oceanfront state park near where I lived.
Now these many years later, I still have a warm glow from those youthful memories. As I stood watching the parade today, it brought them all back as I observed so many young children sitting on the curbs, wide-eyed, clapping and waving as the marchers passed by.
For there is most certainly an air of excitement and participation that a parade offers, whether one is watching or marching. There’s often a palpable exchange between those passing by and the spectators – involving us and connecting us in an intangible way.
And as I watched and reflected, I couldn’t help but think of the families this year, as in many other years before, who are missing their loved ones – families and children whose parents are away at war or who have lost a parent as a casualty of war.
It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to say the good byes that these military families must endure. And the days, months and years of uncertainty, spent managing family life alone, missing milestones, handling minor and major “crises” as best they can, attempting to share what each is going through while maintaining the patience, strength and acceptance that is asked and expected of them.
In our day-to-day civilian life, we often don’t take the time to acknowledge their struggle unless we know someone personally involved. Yet the families are all around us – all across the nation and very much right here in our own area.
So on this Memorial Day, I very respectfully honor and salute these families – parents,wives, husbands, children, babies – and the soldiers they love and miss.