Monday, May 31, 2010

In Remembrance

I did a heads up this morning when I turned on the radio and the announcer wished everyone a "Happy Memorial Day". That greeting was followed by a story about an officer in the military who chastised Americans for forgeting the true meaning of the day. Observance started in 1868 to honor Civil War dead. It is about remembering those who gave their lives in the military.
When I was growing up in the 50's, references to "the war" meant WWII. Not much time had passed sinced our parents generation sent husbands, brothers, uncles, sons and loved ones to fight overseas. Many didn't come back and are buried on foreign land.
A few years ago Jon and I visited Verdun, France, site of a great WW1 battle. We were touched by the fields of graves and the ossuary that held unidentified remains of hundreds of thousands. If an American soldier dies in combat now, his body is escorted home for burial. Families of soldiers lost in WW1 and WW11 didn't even have that comfort.
Memorial Day. A time to remember and be grateful and pray for wisdom not to send soldiers to die unnecessarily.
Memorial Day observances have expanded to families remembering all of our dead loved ones. Graves are decorated and cemetaries visited. My friend, Judy, and her sisters meet each Memorial Day at their parents grave to plant fresh flowers. They bring their lawn chairs and a beverage and pause to share stories of growing up with mom and dad. Nice tradition. Other families do similar things. I haven't.
At my mum's funeral my Uncle Wil passed out copies of some of mom's favorite poems. The first was about not grieving at her graveside because she wouldn't be there.
Hi mom. I know where you are but still miss you.

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