This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day in the U.S. Originally, this was a rather somber holiday, created to honor the dead on both sides during our horrific civil war. As we continued to collect more wars in our history, the holiday expanded to cover all of our fallen heroes.
Being a day in early Spring in many parts of our country, the day was originally marked by decorating the graves of loved ones who had died in battles or served in the military. Over time, most of us lost sight of this practice and started using the holiday as the kickoff to Summer.
I imagine many of you reading this post are planning a family barbecue or doing something else fun and summer-y. All this is absolutely wonderful and I plan to enjoy my holiday weekend in a similar manner. But each Memorial Day I stop for a moment to remember my Dad and his brothers. My Dad signed up for the Navy when he was just 16. A few days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy recruiter didn’t ask any questions of the boy who was too young to legally sign up. So off he went on a mine sweeper to do his duty. I never asked my Dad to talk about his experiences and now that he’s gone, those insights are lost to me forever. But I can take a moment to think about the sacrifice that he and so many others have made over time. And I pray that someday soon there really will be no more wars. And no more reason to decorate the graves of young men and women on a beautiful Spring day.