Just for info…because LOTS of people don’t know…here’s what Memorial Day is all about: it’s a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.
Two years ago, I was in DC for a conference for work. I was seven months pregnant, and I decided to hike a few miles through Arlington National Cemetery to find my maternal great-grandparents’ graves. It was so hot, and I didn’t bring any water. It took a little doing (and a lot of sweating), but I found their graves, and I was so proud. As I was walking back to the Metro, I saw a full funeral procession, complete with caisson and I started bawling. Even sadder was all the fresh grave sites at the front of the cemetery.
This little journey was as much a tribute to my unborn son, mother and grandmother as it was to my great-grandparents. My mom passed away on June 5, 1994. The day I went to Arlington was June 6, 2005. My grandmother died before I was born. My great grandfather was a West Point grad, retired as a Colonel in the Army (after serving in WWI and WWII), and then worked for the CIA. My great grandmother gets to be buried next to him, so they rest side by side in the nation’s most well known military cemetery. I cried for all the family my son will never know, and for the proud military heritage I have on both sides of my family. On my mother’s side, military service goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War. On my father’s side, I’m the latest (and the first female) of at least one of each generation serving in either the Army, Air Force or Navy. We don’t have any Marines – yet. But we do have a nurse, a few pilots and at least one Airborne Ranger.
I plan to visit the other national cemeteries where my family members are buried. Even the one in Hawaii where my great uncle – my father (and my son’s) namesake – is buried, after being shot down during WWII.
I hope we all remember to take a minute to remember these men and women – and to be grateful for their sacrifice. I’m certain I wouldn’t be running my mouth on this blog all the time if it wasn’t for them ensuring my free speech.
John Edwards has set up a great site called SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com – it’s got a lot of activities we can do during Memorial Day weekend (or every day – if you’re motivated) to voice our feelings that our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors should not be in Iraq any longer.