Here’s a post by Abby A., contributing writer for our upcoming Military Posh website, with some nice thoughts for Memorial Day.
I used to work in a city that lined their main roads through town with huge white crosses and American flags. On each cross was the name of a hero. They would begin setting these up about a week prior to Memorial Day. In nearly ten years I worked in that city I tried to read all the names. Through the years they became familiar. I would imagine what they would say to us if they had the chance.
Please just remember, they beg.
If at no other time of the year, remember me today.
Do you remember what I gave?
Do you even remember who I was?
I was the kid next door. I was your friend. I sat behind you in calculus. I was the one that lifeguarded with you at the pool that summer. I was the one too young to sign the contract. So, instead of knowing that I lied about my age, my mother let me.
I was the one who didn’t want to, but I did it anyway because I knew someone else would just have to take my place.
I don’t ask for much. Just think of me. Remember how I laughed, what made me angry.
What was my favorite song?
Do you remember that movie I always quoted? How I liked my steak? That I put potato chips on my burger? Remember my favorite book with the dog-eared pages. Or the graphic novel that inspired me to draw? Remember my favorite jeans with the worn out pocket and perfectly broken in, and that holey concert shirt. Remember me in uniform. Remember that look, my smile. Remember that I had the will to fight.
I imagine they would say when you do the things I loved to do, think of me. If you remember me in the little things I will always be with you.
Someone forwarded an email to me today that said the children in the Czech Republic are assigned the grave of an American or Canadian liberator. They are responsible for the care and upkeep, as well as learning as much as they can about the hero they’re assigned.
I’d like to see more children in America take on that responsibility.Of course, some of our kids are intimately familiar with that lesson already, having lost a family member or dear friend. I would much rather they learned about, and honored a fallen hero. Not to take away from a child’s fascination with the latest pop culture sensation or sports figure. Just to give them a different perspective as they go through life.
In 1918, Moina Michael penned a response to the John McCrae poem “In Flander’s Fields”. Her reply is call “We Shall Keep The Faith.”
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a luster to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
The value in remembering what Memorial Day is really about is too great and too important to be dwindled down to 20% off and a cook out. Do those things. Enjoy and relax. But always, remember.