It’s Memorial Day…did you hang your flag?
Growing up we didn’t have a flag pole to fly a flag, and the poles/brackets we use now to mount one on the house were not widely available. There was a flag pole at my grandmother’s house in Kennebunkport Maine though, and as kids we all loved to ‘help’ put up the flag and bring it in at dusk during the days spent there in the summer.
Memorial day was a day of parades and hanging out at home. I can remember being in Memorial Day parades as a Girl Scout, as a member of the junior high marching band, and then as part of the high school marching band. The parade route was always the same; too long, too hot and oh so much fun!
Living in the mid-west with all our family on the east coast made it difficult to remember family members lost over the years, but my mother was always saying how she used to go to the cemetery and plant flowers at their head stones. Memorial day became a day to remember all family members who had died, not just those who served. And we had a few of those.
I am proud of my heritage. Proud of the fact that I know I have Revolutionary War officers on my family tree. I’m sure there are Civil War and World War vets in there somewhere, but I have never researched it to know who. My father and brother both served in the Army, although not during war time. I had one uncle who served in Viet Nam, although he died when I was very young from a tragic accident on the job. I have a cousin who has served in Iraq.
I want to teach my daughter to remember the soldiers on this day. She needs to know the cost of our freedom so that she will not take it for granted. She needs to know how important that flag really is, and that we can hang it from our house is a sign of our freedom, evidence of the blood spilled for our right to live the way we do, to speak what’s on our minds, and to participate freely in the election of our leaders. I want her to be passionate about being an American, and to know that she has a voice. I also want her to know the cost of that voice.
Today, I remember all those who fought and died for my freedom. To the families of those soldiers, I am grateful for your son or daughter. I want to say a public thank you to all those who fought and came home wounded, either physically or emotionally, from the war we are engaged in right now. It doesn’t matter what my feelings are about that war. But what does matter is that I acknowledge the hardship of it, and the fact that it is being done for me, my husband, my daughter and millions of other Americans.
I fly my flag with honor and pride.