"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same." Ronald Reagan
While many think of Memorial day weekend as the unofficial start of summer; the American holiday originated following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Observed on the last Monday of May, it is a holiday honoring the men and women who died while serving in the US military.
Rich and I always visit a national cemetery on Memorial Day in honor of this tradition. Today we visited Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.
Every grave was adorned with a flag. The roadways were adorned with flags. The large main flag was flying at half-mast. All those flags against the white headstones are just beautiful.
Families and friends were visiting graves. I met a woman visiting her father's grave. We saw two women with camo camp chairs sitting by a grave and visiting...I wondered if they were reminiscing about the life of their loved one. We saw a woman using her bottled water and a rag to clean her loved one's headstone while her family watched on. We saw a father with 5 very young children in front of a grave. There was a father hugging a grieving young girl in front of another grave. Women kneeling in front of headstones. There were many groups and solitary people visiting...scattered throughout the cemetery grounds.
Love, honor and grief were palpable in the air.
However you choose to celebrate Memorial Day, I hope you will pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that we are free because of the brave. Let us never forget.