Yesterday I attended a family party. (We now gather about four times a year for consolidated birthday parties. This one was more like a mini Christmas since there were five birthdays in May and two in April.
As everyone was getting ready to leave, the good-bye mantras included "Happy Memorial Day"
There is nothing 'happy' about Memorial Day.
My son is career army. My grandkids have endured his deployments to Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.
While my son was in Korea and Iraq, I would joke among my friends that I hear more from my son when he is over seas because he does contact me via computer. He managed to help his son with homework at least two times a week, and my daughter-in-law told me that the check book is always balanced because of her husband's diligence.
But Afghanistan was different.
The 101st Airborne lost so many fine men this past year, one of them the father of my grandson's best friend. This tragedy bought home the realization that Daddy is not just gone for awhile, but he is in harm's way- a fact 10 year old boys should not have to deal with.
This Memorial Day, so many families across the land will have those wounds of loss re-opened. Some are still coping. Some will never recover.
This Memorial Day, I will not be seeking out the sales nor heading to the beach to 'celebrate' the beginning of summer. Later on today I will be joining the Boy Scouts as they place flags at the National Cemetery at Calverton. Tomorrow I am attending a ceremony by the American Legion to honor those who lost their lives in war.
Maybe there will be BBQ's. And people will flock to the stores, the beaches and parks.
But there is nothing "Happy" about Memorial Day. It is a day for reflection, honoring and acknowledging that not only are we at 'war', but men and women are dying in that war.
Please take time during this 'three day weekend' to remember. Check with your local VFW for ceremonies or events in your community and participate.
And hug a vet.