The day is quickly approaching when the majority of American citizens receive a day off from work and make plans to barbeque, run through sprinklers and break out their summer wardrobes. Memorial Day has become the unofficial start of summer and a day for grilling and fresh summer foods. For many Americans this day doesn’t get the respect it so deserves. My husband is an Army veteran. He served his country for five years and completed two deployments in Iraq. He literally fought for me. Every November I brag about my veteran—I really couldn’t be prouder of him. While we are both excited to have the day off together on Monday, the day is also a solemn day in our house. I am so grateful that I can celebrate him on Veteran’s Day and not remember him on Memorial Day like so many other wives and families. The day is a reminder for me of how lucky I am.
Far too often we have attended barbeques and gatherings on this day and the meaning behind the day is never mentioned. I spend Memorial Day remembering my grandfather. He joined the Army as a Private and retired as a Full Colonel. Along the way he raised 12 children and fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was a kind man who always let me “do his hair” and sent me coupons in the mail when I cried because my mom refused to let me play with hers. One Christmas I cried because my brothers had more Christmas ornaments than me and my grandfather sent me all sorts of random ornaments (many of them even Easter related). I still have these ornaments on the tree every year. My grandfather passed away from Leukemia, likely related to exposure to gas while in battle. I choose to spend this day remembering him.
If your business is open on Monday you can still recognize those who have died for our country. Ask your customers who they are remembering on Memorial Day or hang a flag outside of your shop for the day. If you are off work, do something small to remember those who have gone before us. Visit a military cemetery or talk to your kids about what Memorial Day really means. Thank a soldier—chances are they are spending the day remembering the friends they have lost, which can be a very heavy burden.
Who will you be remembering on Monday and how will you be recognizing them?