Growing up, this was just another holiday to me. I always knew that it was a holiday to remember the people that died that had served in our country’s armed forces. Although to me, it was a sign that school was almost out and that summer was right around the corner. Red, White, and Blue, family gatherings, grilling, and picnics. That was how I used to think of Memorial Day as a child.
As I became older, it started to mean a whole lot more. Both of my grandfathers fought in the war and made it back home safely. Have you ever stopped to think what it would be like to fight in a war? I can’t even imagine it really. I do think that those who fight are the most brave individuals. I’m sure they have life changing and unforgettable memories. Some chose to speak about it, some do not. I never really heard any graphic or detailed stories from either of my grandfathers, but I know both had faith and were grateful that they returned home. Not all that fight are that lucky to make it back home.
Many people will walk through cemeteries and attend memorial day services over Memorial Day weekend. I plan on attending one myself. There will be American flags placed on the graves of our veterans. When I was younger, I would attend one of these ceremonies near my house, then for many years I stopped going. The last few years it became a tradition that I would go again to these ceremonies with my dad and grandpap. My grandpap is no longer with us, but as I was older, I was truly honored to be sitting next to a veteran. Every Memorial Day now, I look back at photos and a video of the last year when I spent the holiday with my grandpap by my side. I get tears in my eyes. One for being blessed that both of my grandfathers made it home, and how I was lucky enough to know them and have them in my life for so many years. Another reason, is watching the tribute and hearing the veterans play songs and shoot the guns in honor of those gone, hearing the shells hit the ground gives me chills every time. Also, I think back to seeing both of the flags that my grandfathers had, and I remember seeing them when they both passed away. That is when I think it hit me the hardest. These two men were beyond wonderful and great in my eyes. I don’t have enough words to explain how much they both meant to me and how they both added such special meaning to my life. Looking at those flags, brings their greatness to a whole other level.
We need to remember those that fought for our freedom. Many leave to fight and protect us and many don’t return home. It’s a true sacrifice on their end. In today’s world, we have a lot of problems. It is important to always keep in mind that people risked and sacrificed their lives for us, so we could have freedom. Make sure when you are celebrating this weekend, have fun, be thankful for our freedom, and remember the real meaning of the holiday.